Category Archives: NewsFutures

Resistance is futile

CNBC Business - December 2009 Issue

CNBC Business - December 2009 Issu

Over the last decade, the prediction market industry has grown more slowly than one might have expected given the technology’s unique combination of simplicity and power. The main source of resistance to enterprise prediction markets has been the information and power-sharing that this new approach entails. Those traditionally in control of the collection and distribution of information are often reluctant to let go of their prerogatives.

Yet, the pace of adoption has also been relentless. One has to wonder what is the deep driver to adoption that has been able to effectively counter the natural and powerful resistance to share information and power.

In the latest issue of CNBC BUSINESS magazine, a feature article on NewsFutures provides some answers, beyond the traditional nod to Surowiecki’s “The Wisdom of Crowds” book whose best-seller success is itself a symptom of something deeper and more powerful: a demography-enabled cultural shift:

Servan-Schreiber suggests that it may not be long before participatory technologies become a prerequisite for employees reared on a diet of blogs and wikis. “A whole generation of workers has grown up with the internet and everything it entails,” he says. “It means they expect to be heard and to be part of the conversation all the time, including at work. They expect that people will listen and take them seriously. Prediction markets provide an answer for that yearning.”

His message for these companies is that resistance is futile; prediction markets are, literally, the future. “We are in tune with collective intelligence and participatory process; prediction markets can easily involve thousands of people. Our industry is surfing a huge demographic wave and that is what will make us ubiquitous.”

Read the full article online.

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Environmental Futures

Following the controversy about hacked climate-science emails that has exploded in the last few days, our friend Robin Hanson has proposed that climate science could benefit from the clarity that prediction markets are uniquely able to bring to hotly disputed issues in science and elsewhere. Nate Silver, the polling wiz of 2008 election fame, agrees and details some of the best reasons to back environmental prediction markets.

This seems a good time, then, to revisit a presentation about “Environmental Futures” that we delivered back in September 2004 at a California Institute of Technology seminar graciously hosted by economist John Ledyard. Robin was there too, and our presentation nods gratefully to his famous paper “Could Gambling Save Science” as the spring board for our ideas about various implementation scenarios for Environmental Futures.

Five years later, is the world finally getting ready for some of these ideas to become reality? We hope you will find this presentation stimulating…

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Filed under NewsFutures, Political Markets