Wednesday 18 October 2017

I predict that anyone trying to forecast the future will fail

It is said that even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. In a world obsessed with forecasting, that is a consolation. However, if forecasting was a stand-alone industry, it would be bankrupt long ago. It's everywhere nowadays, in economics, politics, sports, science, along with the old reliable weather.

It has always held a fascination, from Nostradamus, to soothsayers, while it is said that Hitler, Nancy Reagan and Britain's M15 used astrologists. Yet when it comes to the things that really matter, forecasts can be as uncertain as the 4 o'clock at the Curragh. Who remembers the famous predictions around the Millennium bug when computer systems around the world were going to crash at midnight? Or the famous soft landing coming up to the economic crash of 2008?

Yet no one saw 9/11 coming, or a black president in the White House less than two years before he was elected. The recent UK election results have forecasters still scratching their heads.

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