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Will humans go extinct by 2100?
While the general feeling of most people, especially now that the cold war is (mostly) over, is that the risk of human extinction is extremely small, experts have assigned a significantly higher probability to the event.
In 2008 an informal poll at the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference at the University of Oxford yielded a median probability of human extinction by 2100 of 19%. Yet, one might want to be cautious when using this result as a good estimate of the true probability of human extinction, as there may be a powerful selection effect at play. Only those who assign a high probability to human extinction are likely to attend the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference in the first place, meaning that the survey was effectively sampling opinions from one extreme tail of the opinion distribution on the subject. Indeed, the conference report itself stated that the findings should be taken 'with a grain of salt'.
Therefore, it is asked: will there be zero living humans on planet earth on January 1, 2100?
For these purposes we'll define humans as biological creatures who have as their ancestors – via a chain of live births from mothers – circa 2000 humans OR who could mate with circa 2000 humans to produce viable offspring. (So AIs, ems, genetically engineered beings of a different species brought up in artificial wombs, etc. would not count.)
N.B. Even though it is obviously the case that if human extinction occurs Metaculus points won't be very valuable anymore and that it will be practically impossible to check for true human extinction (zero humans left), I would like to ask people not to let this fact influence their prediction and to predict in good faith.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
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Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.
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