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Sjef van Gaalen (M)
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    Predictions & Possibilities - Data Repository.
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    22/03/08
    This post will be used as a repository for quotes, notes and interesting articles I come across while gathering information on future prediction. It's very sparse now but I'll keep editing and adding to it over time, and hopefully start building a structure from which a cohesive narrative may or may not eventuate.
    Normally this would happen in private mode, but I haven't even read half of this stuff yet and I don't really see the point in sitting on it while it could be inspiring other excellent articles and I'm busy slacking off. Do feel free to contribute.

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    "As we explore these possibilities we must remember that they are just that - not predictions or prophecies."

    Gerard K O'Neill - The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space


    All text between the dotted lines lifted directly from http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/future.html
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    Daedalus, or, Science and the Future by J. B. S. Haldane.
    Icarus, or, the Future of Science by Bertrand Russell.

    These books were written in 1923. Haldane, a distinguished biochemist and evolutionist, originally wrote Daedalus as a lecture to a Cambridge club known as the ``Heretics'', and later expanded it for publication. Icarus was the response evoked from Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest philosophers of the century. As John Brunner pointed out in an article in the New Scientist in 1993, these two books, together with the physicist J. D. Bernal's The World, the Flesh and the Devil, inspired two generations of science fiction writers, including Mr. Brunner's own Stand on Zanzibar. It is easy to see why: despite the passing of three generations, the futures they suggest remain vivid and plausible; in some aspects, arguably, actual. It is a remarkable and somewhat disquieting achievement.
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    Don Davis' thoughts on human colonization of space. Contains interesting breakdown of why it hasn't happened & what needs to happen.
    http://www.donaldedavis.com/2007NEW/SPACEMIGRATION.html
    The essay section on his site contains a lot of interesting articles on future prediction, history, art and space. http://www.donaldedavis.com/2005%20new/FUTURE.html


    Some rant by Bruce Sterling that kicked off 'Veridian Design'. No idea what that exactly is yet, but he goes on about predicting the future a bit. Contains comparison of 100 years ago to now:
    http://www.viridiandesign.org/viridiandesign.htm
    *Ugh, another movement. Not that interesting. This quote is pretty good though:
    "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme."


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    24/03/08

    History of future prediction
    - Prophecy (self fulfilling?)
    - Science
    - Role of Science Fiction

    Modes of future prediction
    - Calculation (dig up reference materials from Ray Kurzweils TED talk)
    - Speculation
    — The future as used to discuss the present
    — Corporate futurology

    Failed future predictions
    - Reasons for failure
    — Cultural inertia
    — Redundancy
    — 'Black Swans'
    — Overzelous estimations of adoption rates
    — Weak scientific basis - far fetchedness
    — Level of detail
    — Failure to fully appreciate others level of stupidity
    — Excellent appreciation of others level of stupidity
    — Politics



    Prediction methodologies according to wikibooks 'future' book:
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Future/Prediction_Methods
    Further content of the wikibook looks a bit weak.

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    26/03/08

    What interests me most are predictions that have passed their 'will happen by' date, that is predictions that are now completely a part of history, and as such can be seen to have eventuated or have failed (to varying degrees).
    The reasons for failure are also interesting in varying degrees, most are quite easily explicable, the predictions were either based on bad science or their related technologies are still being developed and it is only a matter of time. One subset of failed prediction interests me in particular, that is predictions of futures that have technologically been within our reach, but as of yet have not eventuated.

    So the ones that interest (annoy?) me most - housing / facilities / wealth distribution / freaking space settlement. Less interesting are the flying cars, jetpacks, pill dinners etc.
    Also cool but far less interesting in terms of 'failed' predictions as they seem to be coming along nicely - robots / cybernetics / biological enhancement / communications.
    The singularity has its own category.

    Maybe it's the re-application of the reasons for failure to current developments & predictions which is actually most interesting.


    Another interesting angle would be investigation of predictions made as the industrial age came underway compared to the early predictions of the 'information' age, and an analysis of the waves of it's major events with as goal to determine if our current age is behaving on similar terms, and if so possibly pinpoint our current position in that development creating a point from which to extrapolate the nature of upcoming events.
    This may of course be completely pointless, as looking hard enough will always turn up parallels and the mind would be quick to imagine a stronger correlation than is in fact the case.


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    30/03/08

    List of cognitive biases

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    25/04/08

    The X2 project
    Collaborative project by the IFTF focusing on forecasting the effects of upcoming developments in science & technology.

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    15/05/08

    "The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scracely ever fail in turning to the solid advantage of mankind."

    M. Waldman - Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, Chapter 3

    Sat, Mar 22, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: future, predictions, possibilities
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