Summary of The Future of Everything

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

This book is a fascinating, very readable look at the accuracy of modern forecasting. David Orrell begins with an overview of the history of telling the future, including humanity’s inherent need to try to decipher what tomorrow holds. He covers the current state of forecasting in fascinating detail, dwelling on weather and climate, economics and medicine. He points out the shortcomings in experts’ current ability – or lack thereof – to predict the future accurately in any of these realms. Finally, he discusses the future of forecasting, and makes a case for using the limited models available to become better prepared for future events, particularly climate-related ones, even those that are impossible to forecast with precision. The fiscal and commercial relevance of his advice is startlingly clear in light of recent natural disasters. getAbstract highly recommends this well-structured overview of forecasting and the author’s cautionary message that the planet’s health will govern much of what lies ahead.

About the Author

David Orrell, Ph.D., received his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Oxford. His work on the prediction of complex systems has been featured in numerous publications and on radio in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

 

Summary

Is Forecasting an Exact Science?

In many ways, people in today’s media-focused societies take modern forecasting for granted. When it comes to weather, for instance, the public assumes modern forecasting has made vast improvements, and that meteorologists have complex mathematical models that will only improve with time until the day when science can accurately forecast weather far into the future. People make similar assumptions about medicine, assuming that the mapping of the human genome will result in scientists’ ability to forecast and stop the development of various diseases. The economy, in particular the stock market, is another area where observers assume that forecasting is accurate, and that economists really can provide valid, correct insights into the future. But is forecasting the exact science many people believe it to be? Can experts really predict the future? To answer these questions, and to understand the problems inherent in predicting the future, you first need to go back in time and examine the history of forecasting.

The History of Forecasting: From the Oracle to Galileo

Since the beginning of human history, humankind has wanted to know...


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    D. R. 5 years ago
    A whole book on why predictions hardly work - and then a lengthy chapter on why we should believe in the predictions of climate change. Hmm.