The Treehouse + The Cave

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Friday, May 20, 2005

How Do You Predict The Future?

That's easy.

How do you create the future? That's hard.

Over the years, I've probably written a dozen columns about how to predict the future. The process is pretty simple, really. Just look for a logical vector from the past to the present, then use a bit of English to predict a second vector from the present to the future, because there is always a kink precisely at the point we call "today." Recalculate occasionally so the vector turns into a curve and converges on some date you've chosen in the future. What makes predicting the future easier than creating it is that only observation and thought are required, and that vector is the sum of all forces, seen and unseen. Creating the future, in contrast, requires lots of work, and all the forces generally have to be summoned or at least enticed by the creators, which makes it a combination of engineering, marketing and voodoo. Unseen forces, rather than being automatically integrated, are what kill you.

Text by Robert X. Cringely

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