Metaculus Help: Spread the word

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

By 2024, will there have been a 2-year interval in which the AI-compute trend did not grow 32x?

There are also versions of this question with a doubling and a >=8x increase rather than a >=32x increase.

This is also related to the numerical questions about the size of the maximum compute experiment by mid-2019 and mid-2020.

In May 2018, OpenAI reported that since 2012 the amount of compute used in the largest AI training runs has been increasing exponentially with a 3.5 month-doubling time, or 10x per year.

In July 2018 Ryan Carey from the FHI analysed how long such an incredibly fast doubling trend is sustainable.

So let’s suppose that [the richest actor, the US government] could spend at most 1% of GDP, or $200B, on one AI experiment. [This is similar to what was spent on the Manhattan project and the Apollo program.] Given the growth of one order of magnitude per 1.1-1.4 years, and the initial experiment size of $10M [for AlphaGo Zero], the AI-Compute trend predicts that we would see a $200B experiment in 5-6 years. So given a broadly similar economic situation to the present one, that would have to mark an end to the AI-Compute trend.

We can also consider how long the trend can last if government is not involved. Due to their smaller size, economic barriers hit a little sooner for private actors. The largest among these are tech companies: Amazon and Google have current research and development budgets of about ~20B/yr each, so we can suppose that the largest individual experiment outside of government is $20B. Then the private sector can keep pace with the AI-Compute trend for around ¾ as long as government, or ~3.5-4.5 years.

In line with the Metaculus AI mission of “tracking and improving the state-of-the-art in AI forecasting”, this question attempts to be a real-time tracker of how well Carey’s sustainability estimate holds up. We ask:

Before Jan 1st 2024 (5.5 years after Carey’s initial post), but after Jan 1st 2019, will there have been a 2-year interval in which the maximum compute used in a published AI experiment did not grow >=32x?

The 2-year interval was chosen so as to avoid the question resolving negative merely due to a time-lag between major experiments.


Here’s a spreadsheet extrapolating the current AI compute trend along the lines suggested by Ryan Carey.

Here are Carey’s calculations as a Guesstimate model. I especially recommend checking out the calculators (by pressing the little calculator symbol in the menu bar), which allow you to enter a target compute/cost and find out how long until it's reached.


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.

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.