From: Scott Chase (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 27 Jul 2004 - 08:57:18 GMT
--- Alan Patrick <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> --- Scott Chase <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Maybe it all works out in the end. I still have
> > several books to go.
> Overall, the concept that people's activities can be
> predicted in large enough masses has been taking
> steps forwards over the last 20 years or so as the
> maths of chaos, evolutionary algorithms and big
> computers are brought into play. Just look at what
> systems can do today.
I'll have to look into it, yet somewhere in the large part of my post you snipped I made allowances for modest, short-term predictions. Now how well does this stuff hold up in the case of an unforeseen Mule? If we were to use chaos maths, evolutionary algorithms and big computers with CRM systems loaded in, could we go back in time, say to when there were dinosaurs and
*predicted* the actual impact and subsequent effects of an asteroid?
What will things look like for us in 2010? 2035? Will
all these tools give us any confidence in a
prediction? I could predict that we'll have less
fossil fuel, more CO2 emitted, more people etc, but
what if an unforeseen pandemic wipes out a significant
chunk of the world's population or India and Pakistan
engage in a nuclear exchange and North Korea decides
to take the rest of the peninsula prompting the US to
intervene? Will these events occur? If so, when and
what will the effect on global markets? What will
happen to the forecasts made previous to these
catastrophic events? Will they lose their validity? So
much for predicting history. Is retrodiction of
history all that great that we can get into the full
nitty grity and extrapolate beyond a short time from
now and predict with any detail? What if the future
becomes dissimilar enough from the past?
> But you knew all that ;-) Probably better to finish
> the books......
I think I'll get back to Popper on the poverty of historicism and the myth of "induction" after I finish Asimov.
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