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Ambiguous resolution of Holden's Bet with Zvi

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Related Question on Metaculus:


On December 22, 2021 Holden Karnofsky published Bet with Zvi about Omicron on his Cold Takes blog:

Zvi Mowshowitz and I have agreed to the following bet:

  • If at least 75% of the USA COVID-19 cases between 1/1/22 and 2/28/23 (inclusive) occur between 1/1/22 and 2/28/22 (inclusive), I pay Zvi $40.

  • Otherwise, Zvi pays me $60.

  • This bet is intended to apply to Omicron and earlier strains, and it will be a “push” if a post-Omicron strain “muddies the waters” in the following sense: counting cases from the new strain would cause me to win, and not counting them would cause Zvi to win.

  • We'll use Wikipedia for total COVID-19 cases and this CDC data for variant information. Each of us has the option to appeal to a third party (whom we've agreed on) to perform an adjustment for undertesting.

The concept this is trying to capture is that Zvi thinks there’s a 70% chance of the following: “Omicron will blow through the US by 3/1/2022, leading to herd immunity and something like the ‘end’ of the COVID-19 pandemic.” I think there’s only a 50% chance of this (and I would’ve had a lower probability before learning that Zvi thinks it). We bet at 60%.

Will Holden's Bet with Zvi about Omicron resolve ambiguously?

This question will resolve positively if Zvi and Holden's Bet about Omicron is not won by either Zvi or Holden, by mutual agreement between the two parties. That is, if the bet is called off, if the “push” clause on post-Omicron strain(s) “muddying the waters” is triggered, or there is not agreement between Zvi and Holden about the winner of the bet, then this question will resolve positively. If the bet has not been publicly resolved by September 1, 2023, this question will resolve positively.

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