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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Jul 28, 2021

This Week In Markets

PredictIt remains easy to use, high-volume, and focused almost entirely on horse-race political questions. At least we might get rid of Cuomo.

Polymarket remains a fun alternative way to learn about the news. I only heard about the monkeypox issue a few days ago, and hearing “22% chance of it spreading” is both faster and more useful than some article that dithers for a few paragraphs and finally concludes that “health officials warn Americans not to panic”. I would count it a minor victory if one day news sources routinely included this in their articles, eg “Polymarket, a major prediction engine, estimates a 22% chance that at least one other person will catch the disease.”

Extra credit for the last market, which seems to be successfully predicting a scalar instead of a binary outcome - I’ve seen Metaculus experiment with this technology, but this is the first time I’ve spotted it at Polymarket using real money.

Some of the more interesting new Metaculus markets. The space telescope one is especially interesting in the context of whether we could use prediction markets to predict (and maybe manage) government delays and cost overruns. The telescope is currently scheduled for launch in October 2025, so the market expects it to be about five years late. For context, the previous space telescope, James Webb, was originally scheduled for 2007 and (if everything goes well) will launch later this year.

God Help Us, Let’s Try Predicting The Coronavirus Some More

Anxiety is growing about the new Delta variant of coronavirus. What do the prediction markets say?

Here’s Polymarket: