Economic Forecasting VS Science Fiction Predictions

There are two ways to predict the progress of technology. One way is economic forecasting, the other way is science fiction. Economic forecasting makes predictions by extrapolating curves of growth from the past into the future. Science fiction makes a wild guess and leaves the judgment of its plausibility to the reader. Economic forecasting is useful for predicting the future up to about ten years ahead. Beyond ten years it rapidly becomes meaningless. Beyond ten years the quantitative changes which the forecast assesses are usually sidetracked or made irrelevant by qualitative changes in the rules of the game. Qualitative changes are produced by human cleverness, the invention of pocket calculators destroying the market for slide rules, or by human stupidity, the mistakes of a few people at Three Mile Island destroying the market for nuclear power stations. Neither cleverness nor stupidity is predictable. For the future beyond ten years ahead, science fiction is a more useful guide than forecasting. But science fiction does not pretend to predict. It tells us only what might happen, not what will happen. It deals in possibilities, not in probabilities. And the most important developments of the future are usually missed both by the forecasters and by the fiction writers. Economic forecasting misses the real future {181} because it has too short a range; fiction misses the future because it has too little imagination.


Folksonomies: economics science fiction forecasting

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Future (0.981328): dbpedia | freebase
Forecasting (0.980271): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Prediction (0.788741): dbpedia | freebase
Futurology (0.739159): dbpedia
Scientific method (0.646005): dbpedia | freebase
Science fiction (0.531661): dbpedia | freebase
Nuclear power (0.487468): dbpedia | freebase
Regression analysis (0.481445): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Infinite in All Directions
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dyson , Freeman J. (2004-07-22), Infinite in All Directions, Harper Perennial, Retrieved on 2012-04-25
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  • Folksonomies: religion