Lately, I’ve been increasing interested in the skills of super-forecasters, individuals who have a better than normal success rate when it comes to predicting the future. I’m convinced this is a skill which, like any skill, can be improved through practice. This page contains my practice predictions, each of which comes with a date and a level of certainty. I don’t claim to be particularly good at forecasting right now, but check back in with this page from time to time to see if I’m getting any better.

This quote from Arthur C. Clarke will be the framework I use most often:

If by some miracle a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd that everyone would laugh him to scorn. The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So, if what I say now seems to be you to be very reasonable, then I will have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

 

Politics Predictions

  • Trump loses in a landslide (relative to today’s increase polarization), Democrats take back the Senate in 2016.
    • Confidence Level: 85%
    • Date Made: 8/28/2016
      • Update: Obviously, I got this one terribly, terribly, terribly wrong. Like, not even close.
  • George W. Bush will be the last Republican president
    • Confidence Level: 75%
    • Date Made: 8/28/2016
      • Update: Obviously, I got this one terribly, terribly, terribly wrong. Like, not even close.
  • Article 50, the clause necessary for beginning the Brexit from the EU, won’t be invoked for at least a year. More likely, the terms of the Brexit will be altered to avoid economic ruin. The resulting fracas between nationalists and globalists will result in a realignment of the major parties.
    • Confidence Level: 65%
    • Date Made: 7/6/2016

 

Technology

  • Magic Leap will be the “Oculus” of Augmented Reality
    • There will be many AR players – Apple has been vocal lately about how much they are betting on it, and will likely become the market leader fairly quickly. Even Snapchat, with their spectacles and upcoming IPO , are showing a willingness to get into hardware and may be able to capitalize on AR there. But Magic Leap still has the most incredulous reviews from trustworthy people (like Benedict Evans), and I believe they’ll spearhead the technical advancements in the field. Not necessarily the market leader (much like Playstation/Google sell an order of magnitutde more VR headsets than Oculus), but the most prominent upstart company set to benefit from the AR wave that is coming in the next 5 – 10 years.
    • Confidence Level: 75%
    • Date Made: 9/1/2016
  • VR worth $20 billion as an industry by 2020
    • Confidence Level: 85%
    • Date Made: 8/28/2016
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality hardware will merge
    • Virtual reality is an immersive experience which transports you from grounded reality (a.k.a normal everyday reality) into something entirely virtual. Augmented Reality, on the other hand, adds a virtual layer on top of grounded reality. Dozens of think-pieces have been written on the relative merits of VR vs. AR, but in the end I find these somewhat pointless. As a matter of technical fact, it’s easier to do good VR right now than good AR (the machine vision necessary for good AR simply doesn’t exist yet).
    • Confidence Level: 95%
    • Date Made: 7/18/2015

 

Society

  • The “middle class” will be a historical anomaly
    • As recently as 2014, 51% of Americans lived in the “Middle Class”. Without significant political change, which will be difficult given the entrenched interests of the wealthy, this number will drop over the next 2 decades to 35%. As the 21st century continues, it will continue to drop.
    • Confidence Level: 55%
    • Date Made: 8/28/2016
  • Meatless consumption goes up to 10% in the next 3 decades.
    • Combination of environmental policy that makes it more expensive (specifically, carbon tax credits), and innovations like plant based burgers and lab grown meat.
    • Confidence Level: 70%
    • Date Made: 7/6/2016
  • Guaranteed Income will arrive in most developed nations within the next 30 years
    • Whether it’s basic (enough to cover standard living expenses), universal (applied to everyone), or both, some form of guaranteed income will arrive in major western economies as automation and A.I. reduce the pool of available jobs for humans. I’ve heard arguments that a further development of the Earned Income Tax Credit (which currently ~48% of Americans use to pay no taxes) would be a more targeted approach, but I’m not convinced proponents of that view can convince the rest of wealthy citizenry to support it. The guaranteed income benefits everyone, rich and poor alike, so it seems easier to accomplish, politically.
    • Confidence Level: 70%
    • Date Made: 4/10/2015

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