There's a famous quote from the movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back that captures the essense of this website fully: "The internet has given everyone a voice..." The rest of that quote is both irrelevant and NSFW, but the point is that one of the biggest things about the internet is the ability to voice your own opinion about all things big and small. Long Bets is a website that works off of peoples' innate desire to voice their opinions about some of the larger issues facing the world we live in, and then pit them against the rest of the internet.
The site requires registration to participate in countless "predictions" about what will happen in the future. The rules of the site dictate that you must make a prediction that will come true in no less than two years time, and when you do, the site will encourage other users to side with you or against you. You're allowed to make a case for your argument and track your standings, and the most hotly debated predicitions make it to the sites home page.
It's really a very interesting concept. Anyone can join the site, but if you peruse the profiles of active users, you'll see that a good deal of them are PhD holders, field experts, and professors (or at least they claim to be). The second most common bio is left blank, which indicates to me that many people sign up just to vote on things. Whether or not anyone has the credentials to be taken seriously in such a forum is a matter of mystery unlocked only by the site's administrators and the personal lives of its users.
Long Bets is not a place to go to for accurate forecasts of social and economic trends in the foreseeable future. It is a place to ponder, to argue, and to vote. If you're the type of person, like me, who likes to speculate about possible futures and outcomes of global situations, you'll definitely get a kick out of it. Sign up is free, so go take a look at what the internet's thinkers are saying about the future. Let us know who you debated in the comments!