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TLDR

Manifold is hosting a festival for prediction markets: Manifest 2024! We’ll have serious talks, attendee-run workshops, and fun side events over the weekend. Chat with special guests like Nate Silver, Scott Alexander, Robin Hanson, Dwarkesh Patel, Cate Hall, and more at this second in-person gathering of the forecasting & prediction market community!

Tickets & more info: manifest.is

WHEN: June 7-9, 2024, with LessOnline and Summer Camp starting May 31

WHERE: Lighthaven, Berkeley, CA

WHO: Hundreds of folks, interested in forecasting, rationality, EA, economics, journalism, tech and more. If you’re reading this, you’re invited!

People

Manifest is an event for the forecasting & prediction market community, and everyone else who’s interested. We’re aiming for about 500-700 attendees (you can check the markets here!).

Current speakers & special guests include:

Content

Everything’s optional, and there’ll always be a bunch of sessions running concurrently. Like last year, we’ll host a mix of talks from experts, attendee-run workshops, and fun side events. We’re especially excited about attendee-run sessions — people loved hosting their own and attending their friends’. Topics range from:

  • forecasting in journalism & government
  • legalizing prediction markets
  • AI forecasting (& AIs making forecasts)
  • the case against forecasting/prediction markets
  • adjacent experimental stuff (impact certificates, quadratic voting, etc)

…and much, much more!

Since Manifest is forecasted to be bigger this year, we’re putting extra effort into making it easier for the right people to connect. We’ll have interest-specific meetups for politics, journalism, AI, mechanism design, etc — and plenty of infrastructure for you to run your own sessions on topics you’re excited about.

Last year’s content

To give you a sense of what to expect, here were some talks from last year:

And some side events from last year:

  • Poker tournament with ex-pros (and live betting, ofc)
  • Spicy live polling (and live betting, ofc)
  • Wrestling in the park (and live betting, ofc)
  • Magic: the Gathering tournament (and live… you get the idea)
  • Night market
  • Jazz Jam (BYO Instrument)
  • Speedfriending
  • Lightning talks
  • Descent into Dance Hell, run by Aella

And a whole lot of smaller, attendee-run events too! We’re looking forward to hosting even more of them this summer.

Testimonials Festimonials

Manifest 2023 was pretty awesome. But don’t take our word for it — the median response on the feedback form was 10/10 (n=152). Here were some of our favorite festimonials:

The vibes were immaculate. I was actively excited by easily 70% of the talks and side conversations. Fantastic.

Kudos to the whole team. Definitely worth crossing an ocean and a continent to attend. Thanks for everything 💙

The venue, the vibe, the weather, the speakers, the size, the weekend, the food, the fun, the laughs, the markets, the mayhem, the everything

Variety of events, fun things as well as serious. High density of interesting people to talk to. Great food and site.

You can look through more festimonials here, or read the New York Times’ piece here.

Place

Just like last year, Manifest will be held at Lighthaven. We credit much of the great vibes of Manifest 2023 to the space — it’s beautiful and cozy. It has literal fires for literal fireside chats, infinite nooks for one on one conversations, spaces for small workshops & big talks, and (gorgeous) overnight accommodations.

Extra events

But Manifest this year is so much more than just a 3-day festival. It’s really a 10-day extravaganza that happens to end with Manifest:

Lightcone Infrastructure — the team behind LessWrong and the venue Lighthaven — are hosting their own festival the weekend prior to Manifest, called LessOnline. And to bridge the two big weekend events, we’re collaborating with them to host Summer Camp in between. All in the same location.

You can come to any combination of these three events, but we’re offering a $200 discount if you buy tickets to all three events together.

We’re excited about this experiment because we believe in the power of immersive events and repeated interactions. We’re really excited about providing value by sparking longterm collaborations and friendships, and we wonder whether perhaps a ten day event can do that far better than a two or three day one.

LessOnline

LessOnline is a festival celebrating truth-seeking, optimization, and blogging. It's an opportunity to meet people you've only ever known by their LessWrong username or Substack handle.

It will bring together a “mostly-online subculture of people trying to work together to figure out how to distinguish truth from falsehood using insights from probability theory, cognitive science, and AI.”

The structure will be determined by you: LessOnline will have a collaborative schedule for “unconference” sessions, where attendees can sign up to run anything they want.

Summer Camp

In the week between LessOnline and Manifest, come hang out at Lighthaven with other attendees! Cowork and share meals during the day, attend casual workshops and talks in the evening, and enjoy conversations by the (again, literal) fire late into the night.

Summer Camp will be pretty lightweight: we’ll provide the space and the tools, and you & your fellow attendees will bring the discussions, workshops, tournaments, games, and whatever else you’re excited about organizing.

Here are the types of events you’ll see at Summer Camp:

  • Hackathons (or “Forecastathons”)
  • Organized discussions and workshops
  • Jam sessions and dance parties
  • Games of all kinds: social deception games, poker, MTG, jackbox, etc.
  • Campy activities: sardines, s’mores, singalongs
  • Multi-day intensive workshops, e.g. a CFAR-style workshop or a Quantitative Trading Bootcamp (Note: these may come at some extra cost, TBD by the organizers)

Tickets & contact

You can buy tickets here :)

If you're interested in sponsoring or speaking at Manifest, schedule a meeting with Saul here, or email him here. For any other questions, join us on Discord!

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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:35 AM

Why do you think Simone and Malcolm Collins are good speakers for this conference? 

Hey Ben! I'm guessing you're asking because the Collins's don't seem particularly on-topic for the conference? For Manifest, we'll typically invite a range of speakers & guests, some of whom don't have strong pre-existing connections to forecasting; perhaps they have interesting things to share from outside the realm of forecasting, or are otherwise thinkers we respect, and are curious to learn more about prediction markets. 

(Though in this specific case, Simone and Malcolm have published a great book covering different forms of governance, which is topical to our interest in futarchy; and I believe their education nonprofit makes use of internal prediction markets for predicting student outcomes!)

Thanks, yeah I'm surprised the upsides outweigh the downsides but not my conference [own views]

I'd like to second Ben and make explicit the concern about platforming ideologues whose public reputation is seen as pro-eugenics.

Hi Rockwell, thanks for voicing your concern — I appreciate the time/effort you took to write out & post the comment.

To clarify: is the thing you’re worried about those “whose public reputation is seen as pro-eugenics,” or those who are in-fact pro-eugenics in a harmful/negative way?

I can understand why you might dislike platforming people who inhabit either/both of those categories. I’d like to clarify exactly what you mean before responding.

(And also, a note to both Rockwell & anyone else who’s reading this: I’d be happy to hop on a call with anyone who’d like to talk more about any of the decisions we’ve made, take notes on/recording of the call, then post the notes/recording publicly here. https://savvycal.com/saulmunn/manifest )

Hi Ben! Thanks for your comment.

I'm curious what you think the upsides and the downsides are?

I'll also add to what Austin said — in general, I think the strategy of [inviting highly accomplished person in field X to a conference about field Y] is underrated to cross-pollinate among and between fields. I think this is especially true of something like prediction markets, where by necessity they're applicable across disciplines; prediction markets are useless absent something on which to predict. This is the main reason I'm in favor of inviting e.g. Rob Miles, Patrick McKenzie, Evan Conrad, Xander Balwit & Nico McCarty, Dwarkesh Patel, etc — many of whom don't actively directly straightforwardly obviously clearly work in prediction markets/forecasting (the way that e.g. Robin Hanson, Nate Silver, or Allison Duettmann do). It's pretty valuable to import intellectual diversity into the prediction market/forecasting community, as well as to export the insights of prediction markets/forecasting to other fields.

(And also, a note to both Ben & anyone else who’s reading this: I’d be happy to hop on a call with anyone who’d like to talk more about any of the decisions we’ve made, take notes on/recording of the call, then post the notes/recording publicly here. https://savvycal.com/saulmunn/manifest )

Thanks for engaging! Yep I agree with what you said - cross-pollination and interdisciplinary engagement and all that. For context I haven't spent a lot of time looking at the Collins' work, hence light stakes/investment for this discussion. But my impression of their work makes me skeptical that they are "highly accomplished" in any field and I am also very surprised that they would be "thinkers [you] respect" (to borrow from Austin's comment).

In terms of their ideas, I think that hosting someone as a speaker at your conference doesn't mean that you endorse all of their ideas. But I think it does mean that you endorse their broad method - how they go about thinking about and communicating their ideas. Looking at the Collins' public output, it's surprising that you would find their work intellectually honest or truth-seeking, which are presumably values of the organisers. I'll leave aside other values which they seem at odds with, which are more serious but harder to discuss. Here are some titles from their Youtube account within the last few months:
- "Why the left has to erase the gay male identity"
- "Feminists won the culture war but lost at life"
- "Is a cult using the trans movement for cover? And how you can protect your kids"
- "Starship troopers prove leftist ideology is evil"
- "Are woke ideas secretly eugenic? with Ed Dutton" (Ed Dutton is a QAnon-believing, transphobic, white supremacist. They have collaborated with him multiple times in the past few months, I haven't looked further).

To be clear, clickbait is fine. It's the tone and ideas that matter. If you think Youtube is a poor forum for intellectual content, compare their output to Rob Miles' youtube content (another speaker).  I think there's a pretty big gulf in how much intellectual respect and endorsement they deserve relative to other potential candidates. Who you respect is your call, but an important factor for whether a conference is good or not is the intellectual taste of the organizers.

Meta: Thanks for your response! I recognize that you are under no obligation to comment here, which makes me all the more appreciative that you're continuing the conversation. <3

***

I've engaged with the Collins' content for about a minute or two in total, and with them personally for the equivalent of half an email chain and a tenth of a conversation. Interpersonally, I've found them quite friendly/reasonable people. Their shared panel at the last Manifest was one of the highest rated of the conference; multiple people came up to me to tell me that they really enjoyed it. On their actual content, I think Austin and/or Rachel have much more knowledge/takes/context — I deferred to them re: "does their content check out." Those were my reasons for inviting them back.

I'll add that there is a class of people who have strongly-worded, warped, and especially inflammatory headlines (or tweets, etc), but whose underlying perspectives/object-level views can often be much more reasonable — or at least I strongly respect the methods by which they go about their thoughts. There's a mental wince to reading one of their headlines, where in my head I go "...oh, god. Man, I know what you're trying to say, but couldn't you... I dunno, say it nicely? in a less inflammatory way, or something?" And I often find that these people are actually quite kind/nice IRL — but you read their Twitter, or something, and you think "...oh man, these are some pretty wild takes."

I'm not too sure how to act in these scenarios/how to react to these types of people. Still, the combination of [nice/bright IRL] + [high respect for Rachel & Austin's perspective on object-level things] = the Collins' probably fall into the category of "I really dislike the fact that they use clickbaity, inflammatory titles to farm engagement, but they (probably) have high-quality object-level takes and I know that they're reasonable people IRL."

I appreciate your bringing to attention their YouTube channel, which I hadn't seen before. I'm not heartened by the titles, though I haven't reviewed the content.

***

Again — thanks for your comments. I'm going to continue copying the note below in this and following comments, both for you & for posterity.

(To Ben & anyone else who’s reading this: I’d be happy to hop on a call with anyone who’d like to talk more about any of the decisions we’ve made, take notes on/recording of the call, then post the notes/recording publicly here. https://savvycal.com/saulmunn/manifest )

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