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Betting on the Future

Tonight's guest, Peter Schwartz, has made a prediction on the intriguing site longbets.org(1), a public forum created to stimulate long-term ideas. Members to the site can log in their long term predictions, and then other participants can bet for or against the proposition, with the wagers going to philanthropic causes.

Schwartz's prediction (2) that "at least one human alive in the year 2000 will still be alive in 2150," has already attracted one person to bet $1,000 against it. Ironically, if the person wagering against it is still alive in 2150, she will lose the bet.

In his argument for increased longevity, Schwartz points to the current work in stem cell research, as well as in telomerase, an enzyme in DNA, which may yield new life extension therapies. He further notes that human lifespan doubled from 45 to 85 in the last century. If that was to happen again in the 21st century, we could have 170-year olds walking around!

--L.L.(3)

1. http://www.longbets.org
2. http://www.longbets.org/11
3. http://archive.coasttocoastam.com/info/about_lex.html

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