The Future is Predictable

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I choose to not give up so easily because I strongly believe the hope of the world is a future point of view…

 

In any audience, there is a percentage of people who act very academic and tell me there is no way to predict the future.  They comment about Black Swan events, acts of God and the vast number of variables that just make it impossible.

Although their debate doesn’t sound weak on the surface, they are simply ignoring the fact that in many cases, we can accurately speculate on what will happen looking forward – even with the complexity and Black Swan elements in the mix. 

I choose to not give up so easily because I strongly believe the hope of the world is a future point of view that helps us make good decisions today. Without an ability to accurately predict the future, we are doomed to simply be reactive to highly likely negative outcomes we could have avoided. Foresight helps us mitigate future dangers and it is really not that hard.

I have been predicting the future of technology for years and seem to be at least 80% accurate at picking trends and their outcomes.  Timing of the future dynamics of digital transformation is always a bit harder, and even that is something I am refining all the time. This is not magic; it is simply combining a few separate ways of looking at the world.  Answer the following questions about any one digital tool or concept and you will have an accurate picture of what the future will look like. 

1)   What has human nature done in the past that we will repeat in the future?

2)   Which technologies have amazing potential to make our lives more convenient, safe, healthy, or amplify our ability to learn?

3)   What can we extrapolate about a young technology today?  How will it mature in the world - and how fast?

4)   At what pace will specific technologies progress and get adopted by the masses?

 

Not only is the future predictable, it is critical that we do so.

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When I apply this model, predictions like these become very obvious futures for us:

·     Yes intelligent systems will take over millions of jobs done by humans, and we will forever be thankful because they will make us safer, happier and able to leverage more of our human specific skills like creativity, relationship building and creative problem solving.

·     Technology will make us healthier, but not happier. We will have to do that all on our own.  Physical life span and general wellness will continually improve, mental health is less benefited by technology.

·     Eventually, 75% of all purchases will be done electronically.  The rest will be done through shopping as an experience because we want the experience of being with others and walking around.  Buying and shopping will become very different practices.

·     Health insurance companies will change rates monthly based on health data coming off our wearable devises.  This is wonderful for healthy people who work hard to be healthy.  It will annoy unhealthy people who choose to be unhealthy. In the end, it is fair to charge higher rates to people who are unhealthy by choice.

Not only is the future predictable, it is critical that we do so.  Not just a few of us, but many of us.  When we all have a better ability to look into the future, and choose to do it regularly, we are able to extrapolate out trends from today.  This can help us avoid the possible negative outcomes from AVOIDABLE outcomes of our new inventions.  

It can also help you be more clear on the consequences of the decisions we make in our personal lives.  Smoke two packs a day, probably get cancer.  Put on lots of weight, probably cause serious health problems later. Fail to become more enlightened about relationships and the world, probably suffer lots of pain in your life. 

Decisions today have predictable consequences later.  Inventions we are just now making and will make, have fairly predictable outcomes later.  All we need do is have a future point of view.

Austin Klososky