Predictions abound these days — approaching blizzard intensity — but the quality of our long-term thinking seems not to be increasing accordingly. Suppose we could: make predictions accountable; make the accountability competitive and fun; and make the whole process pay for itself? It’s being attempted by The Long Now Foundation with a spinoff called Long Bets. The rules are: minimum bet is $1,000; minimum period is 2 years; odds are always even, and all bets have a win/lose outcome; bets must be societally or scientifically important; each bettor must name a charity to receive potential winnings and write a detailed argument in support of the bet. The Long Bets Foundation will grow the stakes over the term of the bet (using half the growth to support the process) and publicize the eventual outcome, then raising the question in public, “What can be learned from this bet.” Play at http://www.longbets.org/.
Stewart Brand is co-founder of: All Species Foundation, Long Bets Foundation, The Long Now Foundation, Global Business Network, The WELL, Hackers' Conference, New Games Tournament, Whole Earth Catalog. He is author of: THE CLOCK OF THE LONG NOW; HOW BUILDINGS LEARN; THE MEDIA LAB; TWO CYBERNETIC FRONTIERS.
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