composing probable contingencies delivering probable understanding calculating critical forecasts crowdsourcing probable estimations formulating critical futures mapping the future composing quantitative futures generating calibrated predictions modeling definitive predictions delivering accurate wisdom composing predictive estimations mapping critical contingencies mapping predictive insights formulating contingent futures

Question

Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Will our current peace be shorter than the Pax Romana?

The Pax Romana was a period of relative peace, which lasted for approximately 206 years from 27 BC to AD 180. The peace was not absolute, though, and the historian Walter Goffart wrote, "The volume of the Cambridge Ancient History for the years A.D. 70–192 is called 'The Imperial Peace', but peace is not what one finds in its pages".

Similarly, there have been wars in the post-ww2 era, despite the era being relatively peaceful. The post-WW2 peace has also lasted for only about 72 years as of the writing of this question, making it only about 35% as long as the Pax Romana. In order to last as long as the Pax Romana, our peace would have to endure until 2151.

There are many things threatening peace, from seemingly perpetual unrest in the middle-east to an increasingly tense situation on the Korean peninsula. Yet, a major global conflict in the near future seems unlikely.

When predicting whether a major global conflict will occur within a longer timeframe, effects such as climate change and rising inequality (potentially due to AI?) might play a bigger role and the probability of conflict becomes more uncertain.

It is asked: Will a world war begin before January 1st 2151?

We define a world war as a war that either,

  • involves at least 50% of the world's countries, representing at least 50% of the world's population, with countries on at least 4 different continents participating and that kills at least 0.5% of the global population at the beginning of the war within 10 years.
  • OR
  • involves at least 10% of the world's countries, representing at least 25% of the world's population, with countries on at least 3 different continents participating and that kills at least 1% of the global population at the beginning of the war within 10 years.

The beginning time of the hypothetical war will be defined as the time when for the first time at least 5% of the world's nations were involved in the war or countries representing at least 5% of the world's population were involved in the war.

Should there be countries that have not declared war, but for whom the sum of the fatalities they have suffered and those they have inflicted on others exceeds 10000 within the first 10 years of the war, those countries should be counted as having participated in the war.

Given the extremely long timeframe of the question and that the likelihood of getting reliable data on fatality counts might be slim (use a geometric mean if given several estimates), I think it is unwise to predict on this question with points in mind.

Still, I urge people to predict in good faith. The question resolution date has been set to January 1st 2161, to provide for 10 years after January 1st 2151.

{{qctrl.predictionString()}}

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. With tachyons you'll even be able to go back in time and backdate your prediction to maximize your points.

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.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

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.