2019 Predictions: Calibration Results

At the beginning of every year, I make predictions. At the end of every year, I score them (this year I’m very late). Here are 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

And here are the predictions I made for 2019. Strikethrough’d are false. Intact are true. Italicized are getting thrown out because I can’t decide if they’re true or not. All of these judgments were as of December 31 2019, not as of now.

Please don’t complain that 50% predictions don’t mean anything; I know this is true but there are some things I’m genuinely 50-50 unsure of. Some predictions are redacted because they involve my private life or the lives of people close to me. A few that started off redacted stopped being secret; I’ve put those in [brackets].


1. Donald Trump remains President: 90%

2. Donald Trump is impeached by the House: 40%

3. Kamala Harris leads the Democratic field: 20%

4. Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic field: 20%

5. Joe Biden leads the Democratic field: 20%

6. Beto O’Rourke leads the Democratic field: 20%

7. Trump is still leading in prediction markets to be Republican nominee: 70%

8. Polls show more people support the leading Democrat than the leading Republican: 80%

9. Trump’s approval rating below 50: 90%

10. Trump’s approval rating below 40: 50%

11. Current government shutdown ends before Feb 1: 40%

12. Current government shutdown ends before Mar 1: 80%

13. Current government shutdown ends before Apr 1: 95%

14. Trump gets at least half the wall funding he wants from current shutdown: 20%

15. Ginsberg still alive: 50%


16. Bitcoin above 1000: 90%

17. Bitcoin above 3000: 50%

18. Bitcoin above 5000: 20%

19. Bitcoin above Ethereum: 95%

20. Dow above current value of 25000: 80%

21. SpaceX successfully launches and returns crewed spacecraft: 90%

22. SpaceX Starship reaches orbit: 10%

23. No city where a member of the general public can ride self-driving car without attendant: 90%

24. I can buy an Impossible Burger at a grocery store within a 30 minute walk from my house: 70%

25. Pregabalin successfully goes generic and costs less than $100/month on GoodRx.com: 50%

26. No further CRISPR-edited babies born: 80%


27. Britain out of EU: 60%

28. Britain holds second Brexit referendum: 20%

29. No other EU country announces plan to leave: 80%

30. China does not manage to avert economic crisis (subjective): 50%

31. Xi still in power: 95%

32. MbS still in power: 95%

33. May still in power: 70%

34. Nothing more embarassing than Vigano memo happens to Pope Francis: 80%


35. …finds birth order effect is significantly affected by age gap: 40%

36. …finds fluoxetine has significantly less discontinuation issues than average: 60%

37. …finds STEM jobs do not have significantly more perceived gender bias than non-STEM: 60%

38. …finds gender-essentialism vs. food-essentialism correlation greater than 0.075: 30%


39. SSC gets fewer hits than last year: 70%

40. I finish and post [New Atheism: The Godlessness That Failed]: 90%

41. I finish and post [Structures Of Paranoia]: 50%

42. I finish and post [a sequence based on Secret Of Our Success]: 50%

43. [New Atheism] post gets at least 40,000 hits: 40%

44. [The Proverbial Murder Mystery] post gets at least 40,000 hits: 20%

45. New co-blogger with more than 3 posts: 20%

46. Repeat adversarial collaboration contest with at least 5 entries: 60%

47. [Culture War thread successfully removed from subreddit]: 90%

48. [Culture War new version getting at least 500 comments per week]: 70%

49. I start using Twitter again (5 tweets in any month): 60%

50. I start using Facebook again (following at least 5 people): 30%


51. I get the blood tests I should be getting this year: 90%

52. I try one biohacking project per month x at least 10 months: 30%

53. I continue taking sceletium regularly: 70%

54. I switch from [Zembrin to Tristill] for at least 3 months: 20%

55. I find at least one new supplement I take or expect to take regularly x 3 months: 20%

56. Minoxidil use produces obvious progress: 50%

57. I restart [redacted]: 20%

58. I spend one month at least substantially more vegetarian than my current compromise: 20%

59. I spend one month at least substantially less vegetarian than my current compromise: 30%

60. I weigh more than 195 lbs at year end: 80%

61. I meditate at least 30 minutes/day more than half of days this year: 30%

62. I use marijuana at least once this year: 20%


63. I finish at least 10% more of [redacted]: 20%

64. I completely finish [redacted]: 10%

65. I finish and post [redacted]: 5%

66. I write at least ten pages of something I intend to turn into a full-length book this year: 20%

67. I practice calligraphy at least seven days in the last quarter of 2019: 40%

68. I finish at least one page of the [redacted] calligraphy project this year: 30%

69. I finish the entire [redacted] calligraphy project this year: 10%

70. I finish some other at-least-one-page calligraphy project this year: 80%


71. I attend the APA Meeting: 80%

72. [redacted]: 50%

73. [redacted]: 40%

74. I still work in SF with no plans to leave it: 60%

75. I still only do telepsychiatry one day with no plans to increase it: 60%

76. I still work the current number of hours per week: 60%

77. I have not started (= formally see first patient) my own practice: 80%

78. I lease another version of the same car I have now: 90%


79. I still live in my current house with no specific plans to leave: 80%

80. I set up a decent home library: 60%

81. We got a second trash can: 90%

82. The gate is fixed with no problems at all: 50%

83. The ugly paint spot on my wall gets fixed: 30%

84. There is some kind of nice garden: 60%

85. …and I am at least half responsible: 20%

86. I get my own washing machine: 20%

87. There is another baby in my house: 60%

88. No other non-baby resident (expected 6 month) in my house who doesn’t live there now: 70%

89. No existing resident moves away (except the one I already know about): 80%

90. No other long-term (expected 6 month) resident of my subunit who doesn’t live there now: 80%

91. [Decision Tree House] is widely considered a success: 70%

92. …with plans (vague okay) to create a second one: 20%


93. I find a primary partner: 30%

94. I go on at least one date with someone who doesn’t already have a primary partner: 90%

95. I remake an account on OKCupid: 80%

96. [redacted]: 10%

97. [redacted]: 20%

98. [redacted]: 20%

99. [redacted]: 20%

100. [redacted]: 20%

101. [redacted]: 30%

102. [redacted]: 10%

103. [redacted]: 30%

104. [I go on at least three dates with someone I have not yet met]: 50%

105. [redacted]: 10%

106. [redacted]: 50%


107. I am still playing D&D: 60%

108. I go on a trip to Guatemala: 90%

109. I go on at least one other international trip: 30%

110. I go to at least one Solstice outside the Bay: 40%

111. I go to at least one city just for an SSC meetup: 30%

112. [redacted] is in a relationship: 40%

113. [redacted] still has their current partner: 50%

114. [redacted] is at their current job: 20%

115. [redacted] is still at their current job: 80%

116. I hang out with [redacted] at least once: 60%

117. I hang out with [redacted] at least once: 60%

118. I am in [redacted] Discord server: 80%

Calibration chart. The red line represents perfect calibration, the blue my predictions. The closer they are, the better I am doing.

Of 11 predictions at 50%, I got 4 wrong and 7 right, for an average of 64%

Of 22 predictions at 60%, I got 7 wrong and 15 right, for an average of 68%

Of 17 predictions at 70%, I got 5 wrong and 12 right, for an average of 71%

Of 37 predictions at 80%, I got 6 wrong and 31 right, for an average of 83%

Of 17 predictions at 90%, I got 1 wrong and 16 right, for an average of 94%

Of 5 predictions at 95%, I got 0 wrong and 5 right, for an average of 100%

50% predictions are technically meaningless since I could have written them either way. I’ve lightened them on the chart to indicate they can be ignored.

It was another good year for me. Unlike past years, where I erred about evenly in both directions, this year I was about 4% underconfident across the board. I’m not sure how much I should adjust and become more confident. In past years I’ve been burned by major black swan events that affect multiple predictions and made me look overconfident. In 2019 I tried to leave a cushion for that, but nothing too unexpected happened and I ended up playing it too safe. My worst failures were underestimating Bitcoin (but who didn’t?) and overestimating SpaceX’s ability to launch their crew on schedule. I didn’t check formally, but there doesn’t seem to be much difference in my calibration about world affairs vs. my personal life.

I forgot to make predictions for 2020 until now, which in retrospect was the best prediction I’ve ever made. I’ll probably come up with some later this month.


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