Special Report

Fearless Forecast

Among the most interesting theories of time that I have come across was one that posited that the present didn’t exist at all. It went on to say that all we can ever see are the past and the future – the past because it’s a collection of our experiences, and the future because it is a collection of our aspirations. Whatever we think of as the present, being a combination of both experiences and aspirations, or past and future, is illusory.

This theory is related to two other deterministic theories: That we are what we observe, and that what we observe is colored by what we wish for. We can’t alter the past – even revisionist historians have to satisfy themselves with minor edits of available accounts of it – we can only look to the future with some hope.

This business of divining the future is a hopeful enterprise; no one goes into it hoping to find grimness. Rather, we assume that knowing what the future holds give us a chance to somehow shape its outcome. We want to influence the outcome, yes, that’s what we’re here for, and turn it to our favor. It’s an assertion of the human will.

We’ve been foretelling the future for a very long time, employing the best methods we could get our hands on, for example, reading portents in tongues of fire or the unexplained appearance of some strange animal. Some of these methods, the tarot cards and the amulets come to mind, have not left us, while some, like the thermoscope and the divining rod, have been simply replaced with much better models.

In this issue we compiled a record number of predictions about things that will dominate our discourse and enterprise in 2019 and beyond. As we expected most answers revolved around technology, which should prepare us for sweeping and penetrating integration of artificial intelligence and the like to our daily lives. The sweet side of this prospect for me is the number of predictions that assert the steadfastness of the human will. We’ve been warned of machines wresting control from human hands, and yet we know deep inside that we will prevail.

I encourage you to read all 98 predictions, but if you’d like, you may also filter them by industry. Six brilliant and original essays are also included in the special report – they are enough to prepare you for the coming year and beyond.




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