Thursday, 28 February 2008

Perfectly Unpredictable

A Meeting Organised By Gresham College

Gresham College, London, UK
28th January 2008


MICHAEL MAINELLI, Mercers’ Professor of Commerce, Gresham College

One of the hazards of being a Futurist is that we can too easily fall into the trap of prediction. We are frequently called upon to provide a view on how the future may take shape. In doing so, we ought to stress that the future is inherently unknowable. Claims to have a special knowledge of the future run the risk of being proved wrong. It is usually better for the Futurist to alert others of possible futures - the various directions which the future might take - or even probable futures that guess at the potential likelihood of different possible futures. This is very different to forecasting a single unique future that will occur. Most often, forecasts are just plain wrong. However, the process of forecasting is such that the conversation, if not the result, can be quite instructive. It was in this light that I was attracted to the lecture.

I quite liked the lecture. It was both stimulating and provocative. The argument was well constructed and the delivery kept things moving at a decent pace. Professor Mainelli appeared to have mastered his brief and presented it with great confidence. As entertainment it was extremely enjoyable. I would recommend the lecture series as both informative and enjoyable.

READ the full report.

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