What predictions matter and how are they made ? Victor Crouin



What would you, personally, most like to know about the future?
Phrase your answer as a question and explain it in just a few sentences. The question can relate to your own personal future, or a societal-level future.



How many years are there left before the earth becomes too unstable to live in it?


For a few years now, we have experienced a too large number of catastrophes around the world, due to different factors like the climate change (rise of extreme temperature, melting glaciers, hurricanes and tsunami). Those events happened more and more often and are usually the consequence of humans’ behaviors (pollution of the air in the large cities and the lakes and rivers, especially in Asia). At this rate, I wonder in how many years the human species will be unable to live in the earth anymore.




Think about ways that people (not necessarily you) anywhere, today, would seek predictive answers to the question you posed above. Write just a few paragraphs (not more than the equivalent of 1 page) about the predictive systems the person seeking to the answer to your question might use. Consider questions such as: When/where did the system originate? Is it likely to be reliable? How can you evaluate uncertainty using it? Would you use this system? in answering this part. No need to answer all of these sample questions, and feel free to include other thoughts--our goal as a group in our Seminar meeting in Week 2, will be to discuss the nature of various predictive systems in the context of the questions you raise.




The question I raised earlier is certainly related to the most modern predictive system we created over the last few years. Therefore, the variety of systems people would be likely using to get an answer to the question is not very large. To get an answer to the question, you first have to think about the question: to what extent/natural conditions is the human race still able to live in the hearth? It implies that, to answer the question, we need to get predictions about different factors like the temperature on earth, the cleanliness of the air, the impact of the ultraviolet rays, etc.


However, as far as we know, our systems are not likely to be reliable for this kind of information. As stated in the introduction of the book “The Pursuit of Destiny”, it is almost impossible to predict natural disasters due to the complexity of natural laws. The value of chance and uncertainty are very important because there are lots of different factors to take into account like the growth of the human population or the change of behaviors in the human’s daily decisions about preserving our environment.


In ancient times, they were probably looking at the sky, the behavior of the animals but would have never been able to predict the future in concrete ways.


“The greater the ability of a specie to predict what will happen, the most successful it is at avoiding catastrophes.” Paul Harpen