Accountable Predictions

Long Bets: This offshoot of the Long Now Foundation — the clock people, Danny Hillis, Stewart Brand, etc. — is intended “to improve long-term thinking. Long Bets is a public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake. The foundation furnishes the continuity to see even the longest bets through to public resolution. This website provides a forum for discussion about what may be learned from the bets and their eventual outcomes.” Even odds, yes/no questions of societal or scientific importance are posed to thinkers who designate a charity to receive the proceeds of their bet if they win. “Set up as a form of giving, Long Bets engages long-term thinking and long-term responsibility in even more ways.”

Bets start at $1000, so that some of the yield from investing the money can go to the cost of “maintaining institutional and technical continuity to keep track of Long Bets and manage the whole service over decades and centuries…” The project was launched prominently in the April 2002 Wired magazine issue with some interesting bet subjects posed by Wired editors to celebrity bettors.


are the recorded bets to date; “you can read the arguments written by each bettor in favor of their position, participate in discussion and place parallel bets.” Bets listed to date have terms ranging between 5 years and 148 years, although there’s one about whether the universe will eventually stop expanding with a ‘?’ listed for its duration. (Years have fto have ive digits to deal with the Y10K problem.)