Nerd squillionaire sporting bets

The Long Bets foundation is the nerd squillionaire version of those Around-the-World-In-80-Days gentlemen’s agreements. When one nerd squillionaire makes some hubristic prediction about the future, another nerd squillionaire can call her/him on it and challenge her/him to a friendly wager of $1000 or more. Bets are even-odds, must have binary outcomes (no partial wins), and involve some event that takes place at least two years in the future, and bettors must write reasoned essays explaining their premise. Proceeds go to the winner’s charity of choice. Here at PC Forum, anyone who asserts any futuristic thing will likely be challenged to put down a gee on it.

1. A computer – or “machine intelligence” – will pass the Turing Test by 2029.
Ray Kurzweil vs. Mitchell Kapor ($20,000)

2. In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times’ Web site.
Dave Winer vs. Martin Nisenholtz ($2,000)

3. A profitable video-on-demand service aimed at consumers will offer 10,000 titles to 5 million subscribers by 2010.
Jim Griffin vs. Gordon Bell ($2,000)

4. By 2030, commercial passengers will routinely fly in pilotless planes. �
Craig Mundie vs. Eric Schmidt ($2,000)

5. By 2012, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times will have referred to Russia as “the world leader in software development” or words to that effect.
Esther Dyson vs. Bill Campbell ($10,000)

6. 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.
Jason Epstein vs. Vint Cerf ($2,000)

7. The universe will eventually stop expanding.
Danny Hillis vs. Nathan Myhrvold ($2,000)

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