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Reading about Warren
Buffet’s recent hedge fund related prediction, [
“Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on
December 31, 2017, the S & P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds of
hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and
I took myself along to the Long bets website to see what else
might be there.

It’s a pretty
interesting thing. Part Brian Eno Long Now Foundation, part Wisdom of Crowds
style prediction market. It features some pretty outlandish views of the
future, and some predictions along some familiar themes (Turing test style
stuff, for example.) The thought occurred to me that if you were doing some

scenario style
thinking it would be a useful place to start. Part of the problem with future
gazing efforts is often that the scenarios one has to work with are rather
stale, or, more to the point, proffered by people with not enough professional
expertise on the subjects in question. Long Bets would be a good resources to borrow
from if you were looking for a range of plausible scenarios to think through
and respond to from eminent people like Vinton Cerf or Martin Rees. For sure,
not everyone engaging here is an expert, and plenty have a professional or
commercial axe to grind. However, part of the reliability of prediction markets
comes from the fact that experts engage in the, and part because they have
something at stake. The Long bets site splits out precictions from things that
people have bet against which helps, partially, in separating the wheat from
the chaff.

For example if
you happen to be thinking about any of the following, the site may provide food for thought. Actually, it’s quite addictive browsing people’s mid-long to long, long term views of the world and humanity – hence the endless URLs below….

Computing and Technology

By the year 2040, AI
will appear on computer viruses that will communicate with each other using a
universal Internet language and will be programmed to fuse together and mutate
into Computer Organs that will later be controlled by powerful search engines (Systems)
diffused through out the Internet.

Moore’s Law, which has defined a doubling of
price/performance/value produced by semi-conductors every 12 to 18 months since
1966, will continue to deliver its exponential benefits for at least another
five decades, without stopping or slowing.


By 2010 more than 50
percent of books worldwide will be read on digital devices rather than in print
(This prediction is made by one Vinton G. Cerf)

And so is this one By
2010 more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at
the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks.

By the year 2150, over
50% of schools in the USA or Western Europe will require classes in defending
against robot attacks.

Music CDs compatible
with current (2002) CD players will still be sold regularly in 2015.

Or People and Nation

By 2025 at least 50%
of all U.S. citizens residing within the United States will have some form of technology
embedded in their bodies for the purpose of tracking and identification.

China will be
considered a Christian nation, with at least 33% of its residents identifying
themselves as Christians, by the year 2085.

There will be only
three significant currencies used in the world by 2063. More than 95 % of the
countries in the world will use one of them.
And in a similar vein – By 2050, at least two pan-regional
currencies, modelled on the Euro, will be used in the world.

An ageing one that’s interesting: By 2040, at least 40% of Americans making to
age 65 will live to age 100.