πŸ€” The History of Predicting the Future

Liked The History of Predicting the Future by Amanda Rees (WIRED)

Whatever the approach of the forecaster, and however sophisticated their tools, the trouble with predictions is their proximity to power. Throughout history, futures have tended to be made by white, well-connected, cis-male people. This homogeneity has had the result of limiting the framing of the future, and, as a result, the actions then taken to shape it. Further, predictions resulting in expensive or undesirable outcomes, like Turchin’s, tend to be ignored by those making the ultimate decisions. This was the case with the nearly two decades worth of pandemic war-gaming that preceded the emergence of Covid-19. Reports in both the US and the UK, for example, stressed the significance of public health systems in responding effectively to a global crisis, but they did not convince either country to bolster their systems. What’s more, no one predicted the extent to which political leaders would be unwilling to listen to scientific advice. Even when futures did have the advantage of taking into account human error, they still produced predictions that were systematically disregarded where they conflicted with political strategies.

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