QC Prediction Markets
Another way to argue on the internet
One of the perks of working in QC is that there’s plenty to argue about. The technology is so new, there are so many plausible approaches1, and so much uncertainty that you can have an argument about anything. There are some perennial favorites: quantum hype, whether NISQ devices will do anything commercially (or otherwise) useful, which interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, whatever engagement bait Pedro Domingos just posted, and so on. Many of these arguments are for funsies, and unlikely to be decided any time soon, and so belong on Twitter where nothing matters.
However, the same community of practitioners also has deep insight into near-term decidable questions. They, presumably, have strong opinions about technical approaches, the correct future direction of the field, and the realistic prospects of many fledgling QC startups to survive the next few years. Why not use these powers to bet fake money and talk smack?
In the spirit of this year’s upcoming March Meeting in Las Vegas, I thought it might be fun and interesting to dabble in prediction markets. This was spurred by Scott Alexander’s Prediction Market FAQ (below), which makes the case for the usefulness of such things.
The site I prefer to use for this is Manifold Markets, which lets you bet on various real-world questions using their fake internet points. Most of the site is dedicated to political questions, and what scientific markets exist appear to mostly be devoted to biotech, or have durations in the decades or centuries. I am interested in markets that will be resolved in < 2 years.
There is a Quantum Computing tag on Manifold, but unfortunately, the markets are lame. To that end, I have introduced some questions that I think are more immediately interesting and relevant.
My three initial markets2 are about the near-term prospects of Rigetti and D-Wave as independent, public companies and the likelihood of seeing multiple simultaneous 2-qubit gates with fidelities >= 99.9%3. Right now these markets have low liquidity, and could benefit from people like you4 signing up and placing a bet.
If you believe the Prediction Markets FAQ from ACX, then there is also a high-minded benefit to participating in this exercise and maybe expanding to more ‘serious’ forecasting sites like Metaculus, which is that policy makers who pay attention to these things could benefit from the aggregate wisdom of dozens5 of subject matter experts working in the space. I don’t know about all that, I just think this could be fun.
Go forth and predict!
Welcome to the end of the post! I predict there’s a 99% chance you will like and subscribe.
Obviously superconducting qubits are the One True Path
Incidentally, if you follow those links to sign up and bet, I get rewarded with fake internet money that i can use to create more markets.
If you don’t like these, you should make some of your own.