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Technology

Bookies Predict the Future of Tech 50

Posted by timothy
from the dead-eye-or-snake-eyes dept.
First time accepted submitter machineghost (622031) writes "It's one thing to make predictions about the future of tech; that happens all the time on Slashdot. But it's quite a different thing to put money on the line to back up those predictions, which is exactly what this British bookie has done. Think you know whether Google Glass will beat the iPhone, or whether we'll be ready to go to Mars and back by 2020? Now's your chance to capitalize on those predictions!" Or you could, y'know, invest money in at least some of them, and thereby increase their chances of succeeding.
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Bookies Predict the Future of Tech

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  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@earthlin k . n et> on Friday April 18, 2014 @09:03PM (#46792485)

    Just because you are convinced a particular technology is going to succeed doesn't mean that you want it to do so. Betting can, thus, be better than investing.

    • by lucm (889690) on Friday April 18, 2014 @11:58PM (#46793067)

      You can short the loser side and get an immensely bigger payout if you are right. Options are pennies on the dollar compared to a bet or actual shares.

      And in any event, unless you buy in at the IPO, you don't "help" a company or technology by buying their stock since the said stock is owned by some other dude and the sale does not bring a single more dollar to the company; if anything there is administrative overhead for them. The only marginal impact you may have is that by buying or selling you have a tiny influence over the stock price, which may please or displease other shareholders, who can reward or punish executives accordingly.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @12:42AM (#46793213)

        you don't "help" a company or technology by buying their stock since the said stock is owned by some other dude and the sale does not bring a single more dollar to the company

        This is not quite true. Most companies dilute their stock regularly, to compensate management and founders with stock or option grants.

        The collection of buyers of those shares set the price for the stock -- which is ultimately being used to provide the company's equity financing.

        Now it's true if you bought a share of stock for $1000.... well it's not $1000 that goes directly or indirectly to the company.

        But you are trading places with someone who ultimately up the chain bought into their offering.

        In the event the buying volume ran out... the stock price could easily fall by a few %. Even a $0.01 price decrease is significant.

        So it's not that you aren' "giving" to the company --- it's just that the relative proportions of what you are giving are probably very very small, for a multi-billion$$ company.

      • by Smauler (915644)

        And in any event, unless you buy in at the IPO, you don't "help" a company or technology by buying their stock since the said stock is owned by some other dude and the sale does not bring a single more dollar to the company

        This is like claiming there is no point voting because some other dude also voted. Companies live and die by how many people are willing to invest in them, so, in my opinion, buying stock is a company is definitely helping them.

      • But those that did buy at the IPO only did so because they believed there would be blokes like you that will buy later. If the after-IPO market wouldn't exist, IPO wouldn't either.
    • by mysidia (191772)

      What is very disappointing is the heavyhanded regulators have blocked this kind of market in the US, the supposed "land of the free"? What happened to our economic freedom??

      Indeed. If you stand to lose financially -- in case the technology DOES succeed, then you could make a Bet that it will succeed, in order to offset your losses.

      If the technology succeeds, you win your bet, AND your winnings offset the financial harm. If the technology doesn't succeed, then you lose your bet, BUT you are not finan

      • You have a stock exchange. It's almost like placing a bet.

        The cynic in me would say that's also the reason why real betting is disallowed. I mean, would you allow a competitor to exist if you controlled the law?

    • Also, how do I actually invest in SpaceX? Or just in Google Glass, which is a tiny fragment of GOOGL?

    • by antdude (79039)

      I want smart watches (no mobile phone required) and driverless cars (ready to be used and I am disabled -- it should be safe as KITT!) only.

  • Hedges and sets odds on the bets such that no matter the outcome, there is profit.

    • Indeed. With a traditional bookie such as this, you can only bet one way. The true probability of any of these things happening is significantly less than the supplied odds suggest.

  • Bookies make their money on the transaction, just like any other brokerage working the stock market.

    • No. Betting exchanges such as Betfair charge money on the transaction. Traditional bookies such as this make individual bets against punters, at odds that they themselves set. They can and do make a loss on individual bets. But they make more than enough on the winning bets to cover that.

  • All the predictions in the article are with overwhelming "won't happen" odds.

    There is no almost value in predictions that are negative predictions (i.e. "We predict this won't happen".

    Most people can see a number of things that won't happen, the value of predictions is identifying things that WILL happen.
  • by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Friday April 18, 2014 @09:51PM (#46792695)
    This isn't the future of tech so much as the odds of specific companies doing specific things. It may be a useful platform for hedging stock purchases but to say it's about the future of technology is silly. Look at the beginning of the era of personal computers, 1980... These bets are like saying "IBM will sell over 200,000 PC's in the year 2000". How many PC's IBM sold had a very small effect on total PC sales. Whether or not Google has 75% global land coverage in 6 years the important question is whether any company will. Whether Amazon is delivering mongoloads of stuff by drone the question is how much stuff will be delivered by anyone. The questions posed on the linked site are trivial except to the extent you're betting on stocks.
  • I figured there would eventually be competitive gaming people could hold careers in back in 1983.

    Once I heard of Quantum Link for C64, I knew there'd be one MMORPG to rule them all eventually. I even tried making one until Ultima Online came out and I quit mine.

    I knew Internet multiplayer games were the way of the future on consoles back as soon as I heard of the Internet.

    The second I heard of Ebay forming out of Usenet, I knew it'd get huge.

    I knew instant messaging would be huge on Windows befo
    • by lucm (889690)

      You should post a screencast of you typing your comment in WordPerfect, with a small Rhodes electric piano music playing in the background. This would be a big hit with people who miss the series "Doogie Howser, MD".

  • by rasmusbr (2186518) on Friday April 18, 2014 @11:26PM (#46793007)

    SpaceX is an awesome company, but the only chance of them beginning to colonize Mars within six years is if aliens land on Earth and hand over the keys to their spacecraft to Elon Musk.

    The bet would be much more interesting if the deadline was 2034 (or even 2024, although that would be an incredibly long shot).

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      AKA Putin

    • by lucm (889690)

      What about people from the future time-traveling to give us exciting new patent-free technology? Is that more likely than aliens landing on Earth and handing over the keys to their spacecraft?

      If it was possible to bet on THAT I would be interested. Who cares about drones.

      • Why would people in the future abandon patents? Because they "learned their lesson"? Because they "got more socially intelligent"? Look back in history and show me one example where we learned from our lessons or where we became more socially intelligent.

        Man is a greedy asshole. And the greediest assholes are also the ones that have the power to build something big. Something like, say, some time travel device.

        So if anyone ever came up with something like that, what he would bring along is the blueprints of

    • by Monty845 (739787)
      You could flip that on its head, and say that despite the challenges of a mars colonization mission, and the exponential increase in difficulty that trying to do it in 6 years would add, they wont give worse odds than 1 in 250 that it could happen... given the launch windows, 6 years is too short, even if you really believe in Musk, and think we can colonize Mars... but it does highlight the short windows of these predictions. Just pushing them all out to 2030, and I'd be really interested to see what they
      • by Maritz (1829006)
        Typical stingy bookies odds. SpaceX don't even have plans to go to Mars by 2020. It's so ludicrously short a timescale that you could quite comfortably offer 2000 or 5000-1 and be completely confident about coming out ahead. (as the bookie)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..pretty long indeed.

  • by witherstaff (713820) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @08:17AM (#46794055) Homepage
    Nothing new, Intrade would allow you to bet on anything. I know there are a few places doing similar things.
  • For "BitCoin to account for more of world GDP than the £/$ by 2015" would be a growth rate of many orders of magnitude.

    So if any body believed this to be true (I don't), they would invest in Bitcoin not bet on it.

    I want the odds that the Bitcoin ponzi will have completely collapsed by 2015.

    • by Maritz (1829006)
      I wouldn't put money into Bitcoin but it's not a ponzi scheme and calling it that simply suggests that you don't know what a ponzi scheme is.

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