What will have been the most important thing to happen in 2024? [Resolves to poll, subsidized]
58
319
2.6k
Dec 31
17%
AI
50%
US Presidential Election
3%
Israel-Palestine Conflict
29%
Other

How will this market be resolved?

In January 2025, after this market closes, I will create a poll with the following description:

Imagine looking back on 2024 ten years from now. What will you consider to have been the event or development to have had the most long-term impact?

Note that, in case of a longer development, it must not have just taken place within 2024; 2024 must have been an important year for it. For example, AI research has been going on for decades; however, even if we consider AI to be the most important development of human history, it has not been the most important development within most of the individual years.

Please note that the description might change to better reflect my intentions - and feel free to suggest improvements to the wording.

The answer options for the poll will be all answers from this market, except for "Other". Thus, it will make sense to sell "Other" shares when the market draws to a close.

The poll will run for a month. After that, I will resolve this market according to the poll, rounding up or down to the nearest whole number. This may result in some of the least popular answers receiving 0%.

How to add answers to this market?

New answers will be spun out of "Other".

I would like to avoid duplicates and joke answers in this market. If you would like to see another answer, please suggest it in a comment (one suggestion per comment), and ideally a brief explanation of why it's important. The topic can be social, technological, political or from any other area; an event or a development; the only requirement is that 2024 be an important year for it. It also should be specific enough to refer to a clear event/development (for example, "malaria vaccine rollout" qualifies, while "medical breakthrough" does not). Once the comment gathers five likes, I will add it (ping me if I miss likes). Note that I might add an answer immediately if I like it, or exclude it if I think it's not fitting for any reason.

Of course, you are welcome to argue for and against any answers in the comments; however, please be civil when doing so.

I have subsidized this market with 1,000 mana.

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Maybe "nothing of outstanding importance happened this year", or something similar, should be an option. It is possible that we won't have any new pandemics or other things from out of metaphorical left field, no major new developments in AI, the US election goes to the status quo candidate, the aliens story fizzles, there aren't any world-changing scientific or technological breakthroughs, and the various metrics we use to measure things just keep trending in the way they were trending. For me that would be a surprise, and an important update that maybe things are going to change less quickly than I have come to expect.

@equinoxhq I think whoever wins in the election will be of importance. Also the question is for "the most important thing", there should be an answer even if people think that it is not of outstanding importance. But again, I think whatever the election outcome is, it will be substantially important

@egroj You certainly have a point about any outcome in the US election being an important outcome. So I guess it's guaranteed that at least one thing of substantial importance will happen. I withdraw my suggestion. Would have been nice to have a "everything stayed stable, nothing much of global-scale importance happened" option, but, not possible 😂

@equinoxhq Interesting point. I'm not sure if there's a good "importance threshold", and whether the US elections trigger it by definition (do we think Obama beating Romney in 2012 had a lasting impact on the world?).

@PS I wouldn't say US elections should always trigger it by definition. There's a reason this clip of the two aliens from the Simpsons struck people as funny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuYsZUMuj0M&t=93s, which is (partly) that sometimes there isn't a big difference between the choices on offer. But this year, yeah there's a difference.

@PS I meant this particular election, because Trump is so divisive that it will be of fundamental importance if he wins or loses for the both the half of the country that is for him and the one that is against him.

@egroj It should certainly be very important for the US. Probably globally as well, but I am less certain here, in spite of the obvious disagreements in foreign policy.

You certainly have a point about any outcome in the US election being an important outcome

I have thought about this some more, and I'm not sure I should take this position. The question is "What will have been the most important thing to happen", not "What will have been the most important thing to not happen?".

It is surely important that Trump not retake the reins of power in the US - so it would be an important development if he did, and also important if he did not. But by that logic, it is also important that a second pandemic not happen, that world war 3 not happen, that an asteroid strike over a certain size not happen, that a major solar flare that knocks out the electricity grids worldwide not happen, that a climatic shift that impacts multiple grain growing regions leading to a large food shortage not happen... there are a lot of things where it is important they not happen, but we shouldn't put "a damaging solar flare did not occur" and all the rest as options, because this is a question about important things that did happen. Is it important that Biden get in? Not particularly - any sane and competent adult will do in a pinch. So if for example Trump had a health issue and was no longer able to stand as a candidate, and he was replaced by someone reasonable, I'd say the importance of this US election would go down. So it's not correct to say that any outcome of the US election would be important. "Trump wins" and "Trump loses" would be important, and it seems like one of those outcomes is more likely than outcomes that don't involve him, but those outcomes are possible. So it's not impossible (just unlikely) that by the time the election occurs, it won't be particularly important who wins.

Which leaves us in a pickle - should "Trump didn't win" count as an important thing that happened, if that is how our future timeline goes?

@equinoxhq well I should have said "people will perceive it important" because the answer will be resolved with a poll. Biden winning will be perceived as the end of the country for half of the population (but much less than half of manifold, I assume), and stopping a major catastrophe for the other half. An asteroid impact not happening is not an important outcome, but preventing an asteroid impact from happening is definitely an important outcome.

@equinoxhq Great point, veering into philosophy :)

I'd say "Trump didn't win" is an event, while "a pandemic didn't happen" is not. As you said, with Trump, there is a significant chance he might win; we can phrase this alternatively as "Trump lost", something we can't do in case of the pandemic. Unless, of course, we're talking about something specific - say, the world would have acted very differently in early 2020 and nipped COVID in the bud; in this case, there would have been a specific and probable scenario which had been avoided.

I think leaving "other" in the poll by which this market resolves might make sense. Sometimes (my guess is, quite often) the thing that is most important in a year is something that didn't seem obvious that year. For example, from the perspective of December 2020, it would have been clear that various advances by BioNTech that occurred in the 2010's were of historic importance, but this likely wouldn't have been obvious to many people in the year in which the advance occurred.

To be honest though, this idea is more a generalization from "in my own life, what will be seen as important later is not always obvious in the year when it happens" than a generalization from a bunch of historical examples. I would like to be much more familiar with what happened when in the past than I am. So maybe on a global scale, there are enough people looking at and thinking about what's happening, that the long term important things are, with only rare exceptions, picked up on in the year when they happen? But anyway, if you think there's a non-trivial chance that 10 years hence we will think something was really important, that wouldn't even be on our radar right now, then you should leave "other" in the poll in Jan 2025.

@equinoxhq This makes absolute sense - however, I don't think our perspective in January 2025 will be that different than that in December 2024. If I actually ran the poll 10 years later, I'd definitely leave "other" in* - but do you really think it makes sense immediately after the market closes?

* Well, not quite, because as a catch-all category it might swamp out the "real" most important thing. I guess the thing to do would be to run a poll with an option to add new answers.

@PS I see your point - in order for me to answer "other" in a January 2025 single-option poll, I'd have to think that "something else" is likely to be more important than any of the more salient options in the poll.

How I would really like to answer if someone asked me "what do you think you will view as the most important thing to have happened this year, in 10 years?", is "maybe this thing, maybe that thing, maybe something else not on the list" with different probabilities, rather than "this thing gets my vote". But in a poll that forces me to pick one thing, I can see it would be hard to pick "other".

@equinoxhq What I wanted to do is

1) have a resolution soon after the end of 2024
2) be resolved according to consensus, not by my personal opinion like last year (/PS/what-will-have-been-the-most-import)

I thought a subsequent poll would be the best solution, and "other" made little sense to me in that context. But if you think there's a better way, do tell

@PS Thinking this through on the fly, but I don't think you have a better option. You're limited by the polling functionality that exists on Manifold (which is not a criticism, they've got to pick what functionality to prioritize, and it makes sense if "more complicated polling" is not at the top of the list). A more complex poll where say each person gets 100 votes and they can distribute them among the available options would be ideal, but the only way to get that would be to search out or build that functionality on another site, which comes with its own problems.

@PS also, I liked the 2023 version, it prompted some interesting discussion, and I think your points of view were reasonable. "You have to convince another human being that you're right, and be willing to shift your probabilities if someone makes a good argument, otherwise you'll lose mana as the impartial observers to the discussion shift their bets" prompts some deeper engagement than the standard "bet your beliefs", I think.

This one is also good, I just wanted to express a positive sentiment about the 2023 one. I see it as an interesting experiment that worked.

@equinoxhq Happy you liked it :) There's another one for 2024, although not by me: /Ernie/1000m-subsidy-what-will-have-been-t

However, while I enjoyed learning more about a couple of topics, I don't think many people shifted their opinions; and most traders seem to have just gone with their intuitions. From over 250 people who bet on that market, just a single-digit number really engaged with others in the comments.

China attacks Taiwan? I'm thinking this is more likely in a few years than this year, but it's not impossible it could happen later this year, and would be a big deal if it happened.

Chinese economic crisis - People have likely gone broke over the last few years predicting the imminent demise of China's economy, so this is not high probability; however, given the following factors, the risk for something like this keeps ratcheting up: overall debt & leverage, real estate bubble deflation/malinvestment, accelerating demographic decline, and global supply chain decoupling. Some prominent projections have already shelved the notion that China's economy will exceed that of the US in short order. A meaningful crisis would have geopolitical repercussions, potentially limiting China's ability to usher in a decisively multipolar world order.

If you prefer a more idiosyncratic resolution, @Ernie has a similar market which they will resolve according to their own judgment:

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