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>1,000 Detonations Cause Extinction

Flourishing Futures Nuclear Risk Horizons Project

Question

Related Questions on Metaculus:


As stated on another question about extinction:

"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."

If there's a nuclear conflict involving >1,000 detonations, will humanity be extinct within 50 years?

This question resolves positively if the human population falls to zero within 50 years of the final detonation as part of the first nuclear conflict (between January 1, 2021 and January 1, 2100) which involves >1,000 offensive nuclear detonations. For simplicity, we will consider detonations to be part of the same nuclear conflict if each detonation occurs within 30 days of another detonation (regardless of who detonates the weapons, who their targets are, what their motivations are, etc.).

This question resolves ambiguously if there is no nuclear conflict involving >1000 detonations by January 1, 2100.

For the purposes of this question, "humans" are members of a species most of whose members could at some point in their lives reproduce with typical 2021 humans without medical assistance (even if young or old members of the species could not do so or a minority of members of the species could never do so). In scenarios where this question would resolve positively given that definition, but there remain beings that at least one 2021 Metaculus moderator would consider "human" (possible examples: some human-like digital minds; some possible types of genetically altered humans), this question will instead resolve ambiguously. This is because it is debatable whether such scenarios should count as "extinction".

This question can resolve positively even if the nuclear conflict wasn't the sole cause, a major cause, or even a contributing factor in the eventual extinction event. (This is because it would be useful for this question to capture instances in which the nuclear conflict merely contributed to rather than solely or directly causing extinction, but it seems hard to capture that neatly except via this more expansive resolution criteria.)

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