I finally gave in and started reading Game of Thrones. When I got to the end of the first chapter, I texted a bunch of my nerd friends like, "Why do people think this is surprising? It is like super-obviously signposted!" From there, it turned into a project where I try to predict what will happen in Game of Thrones. Predicting Game of Thrones
, a blog by Eyebrows McGee
, with an accompanying predictions log
. NOTE: this is full of spoilers for the first two books, and the first half of Book III (Storm of Swords) will be online soon. Plus any number of theories could come true in the later books. [via mefi projects
] [more inside]
BBC Future predicts what will happen over the next 150 years,
and also for the next 100 quintillion years
, in handy infographic form.
In 1973, a small think-tank with the mandate of anticipating and preparing for future threats was formed inside the DoD, called the Office of Net Assessment
. A RAND corp strategist named Andrew Marshall
was placed at its head. Forty years later, he's still at it and has survived the latest round of budget cuts
- for now. [more inside]
A Logic Named Joe
is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
is a new global weather data service announced yesterday
. It boasts smoothly animating radar maps that predict up to a week in advance, a "time machine" to let you explore past and future weather, and intelligent text summaries. [more inside]
Every year, Edge.org
asks a question. This year's is:"What *Should* We Be Worried About?"
are things like "Chinese Eugenics," "We Are In Denial About Catastrophic Risks," "Worry About Internet Drivel," "The Patience Deficit," "The Power Of Bad Incentives," "The Complex, Consequential, Not-So-Easy Decisions About Our Water Resources," and "The Cultural And Cognitive Consequences Of Electronics." They are from people like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, David Rowan, Evgeny Morozov, Kate Jeffery, Vernor Vinge, Bruce Schneier, Alison Gopnik, Steven Pinker, Virginia Heffernan and Simon Baron-Cohen.
There are 154 answers. [more inside]
Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds
is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC)
. (Report: PDF
/ Talking Points: PDF
.) Similar to its predecessors
, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog
discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council
has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
Researchers found that the pattern of murder in Newark, NJ is very similar in pattern to the spread of an infectious disease.
Could this research
show law enforcement a new way to predict where murders will occur?
Back in 1974, Arthur C. Clark imagined that we would be talking to each other via computers
, and even purchasing theater reservations. How absurd!
Never Too Early Movie Predictions
: "Quite possibly the earliest Oscar predictions on the web. Predictions are currently being made through 2017
MeFi's own cstross
on the future: Part 1
, Part 2
, an emerging field of study that applies climate-modeling levels of supercomputing power towards predicting human behavior, using "computerized analysis of vast digital book archives, offering novel insights into the functioning of human society", has been tried with digital news archives. [more inside]
In a chilling development, six Italian scientists (and one government official) are facing manslaughter charges
for failing to predict the April 6, 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people.
A Day Made of Glass.
(A vision of the near-future from the makers of Gorilla Glass
.) [more inside]
Professors' global model forecasts civil unrest against governments
- With protests spreading
in the Middle East
- not on the list) I thought this article
on a forecast model
predicting "which countries
will likely experience an escalation in domestic political violence [within the next five years]" was rather interesting. [more inside]
A lawfirm perusing the New York Times archives has examined how physician W. J. Mayo, famed industrialist Henry Ford, anatomist and anthropologist Arthur Keith, physicist and Nobel laureate Arthur Compton, chemist Willis R. Whitney, physicist and Nobel laureate Robert Millikan, physicist and chemist Michael Pupin, and sociologist William F. Ogburn foresaw the year 2011
from the year 1931, with commentary. [more inside]
Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works.
"There is evidence that a big part of AA’s effectiveness may have nothing to do with the actual (12) steps. It may derive from something more fundamental: the power of the group. The importance of this is reflected by the fact that the more deeply AA members commit to the group, rather than just the program, the better they fare." [more inside]
- shows old early nineties AT&T ad in accurate future prediction SHOCK !
Decades of Future Science.
In which advances of the next few decades are wishfully thought up.
is a bit like Long Bets
, except shorter and without the bets. [more inside]
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
Margins of Error
We can't seem to let the future alone. Even though we often get predictions about it so wrong
. Because, as Niels Bohr once said, "Prediction is very difficult. Especially if it is about the future." What are the origins of political polling
(beware of awful interface design)? And how is political polling evolving
An alternate reality game of future survival from the woman who brought you I Love Bees. Starting soon.
A New State of Mind.
"New research is linking dopamine
to complex social phenomena and changing neuroscience in the process."
IBM's the next 5 in 5
"forecasts the five innovations that will change the way that we live, work and play in the next five years." [more inside]
The Promise of Prediction Markets (full text link; .pdf here)
. A group of distinguished economists and other scholars has published a call to exempt prediction markets (previously on MeFi: 1, 2)
from American laws that restrict internet gambling. [more inside]
This is interesting.
Presented by the NOAA Space Environment Center (SEC)
The official NOAA, NASA, and ISES Solar Cycle 24 prediction was
released by the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel on April 25, 2007. The
Prediction Panel included members from NOAA, NASA, ISES and other US
and International representatives. Press Briefings and presentations at
the SEC Space Weather Workshop, plus additional announcements and
information from the Panel are linked below. The Panel expects to
update this prediction annually.
What will be the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the next 50 years?
As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the New Scientist asked 70 prominent minds for ideas on the subject. You can read the thoughts of scientists like Freeman Dyson
, Benoit Mandelbrot
and Jane Goodall
individually, or browse by topic. For example, eight thinkers have something to say about alien life
. The links to browse by topic can be found at the beginning of the main link. Also, compare with this thread
about similar predictions from 1950.
Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years
Some more up-to-date predictions: science
, space travel
, mental health
, smart machines
, robots, mind uploading
What is your prediction
As in the 2004 elections, several useful sites have sprung up to keep track of the 2006 midterms for House, Senate and state gubernatorial races. Some have a political point of view, others don't, but they don't differ significantly on the outcome at this point. One of the veterans in this game is ElectionProjection.com
, which was pretty close to actual results
in '04. (A creation of "the Blogging Caesar")
. From the right, there's MyElectionAnalysis.com
, while ElectionPredictions
seems to come from a neutral corner. All of these track statewide polls as they are published; they may differ in how they weight results. For a more subjective approach, see Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball
or the Cook Political Report
. Overall, the consensus seems to be that the GOP will hold both houses, but with slimmer margins, and lose on the gubernatorial front.
BT Technology Timeline 2006-2051
It's interesting to see a major company such as BT set a timeline such as this, especially as they say thier 1990 timeline has had around 80% accuracy. They predict a supercomputer as powerful as the human mind in 2006, self aware computers that pass the turing test by 2020, and the rise of a global computer dictator by and artificial brain around 2040. After that its hard to predict, you know with the singularity coming and all...
Some of the interesting things they predict: genetically engineered teddy bears; androids form 10% of the population around 2015; the Matrix is created, 2030; thought recognition as input device by 2014; the list goes on and on.
Experts can suck at predicting the future.
Their intuitive sense of probability is no more developed than lay-people's. A classic experiment is to present two indistinguishable choices are presented, but with unequal probability of reward. Humans look for complex patterns, which don't exist, and preform quite poorly. Rats quickly recognize the choice with higher probability, and preform optimally.
Consensus View New Yorker
columnist James Surowiecki's book The Wisdom of Crowds
"explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future." Now this idea has been put into practice with Consensus View
, a site where you can enter your predictions on stocks, commodities, and currencies, and view the group consensus. (from wsj.com
Review of "A Possible Declining Trend for Worldwide Innovation,"
by Jonathan Huebner, who says the rate of human innovation has been steadily declining since the industrial revolution, and is headed toward an "economic limit" of very low apparent innovation that will be reached circa 2038. As one potential explanation, we must consider the possibility that human-initiated innovation, like energy consumption and population growth, is a process that naturally saturates with rising global income levels and technological intelligence--as technological progress increasingly satisfies current human needs, individuals become less concerned with technological development and turn more toward personal growth. More articles from Acceleration Watch
It is more likely than not that most of America’s enemies in the near future will continue to be at least as awkwardly and inconveniently asymmetrical as they have been over the past 15 years. However, it would be grossly imprudent to assume that they will all be led by politicians as incompetent at grand strategy as Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. There is probably a General Aideed lurking out there, not to mention a General Giap. A no-less-troubling thought is recognition of the certainty that America’s strategic future will witness enemies initially of the second-rate, and eventually of the first... One may choose to recall the old aphorism that “unless you have fought the Germans, you don’t really know war.” That thought, though one hopes not its precise national example, holds for the future.How Has War Changed Since the End of the Cold War?
The answer seems to be not that much at all: The truth of the matter is that war is not changing its character, let alone miraculously accomplishing the impossible and changing its nature.