Now by now I may be wearing the whole predicting the future thing pretty thin, but hear me out, because for me it still continues to be interesting, and yes, I strive to drag this topic out into at least this blog, because I haven’t finished yet. So just when you thought I was done, I return!
Because when you actually look at how certain advances and falls in technology, popularity etc. we can make predictions about how trends will continue based on how progress appears to be moving.
When you take a look at a graph for example, that stems from the bottom left corner to the top right, you could say that it is a reasonable assumption that that very line would continue in that direction, if not ad infinitum, for quite a long time, or at least until we hit limiting factors.
For, for another example, growth of a bacterial colony we would hit limiting factors of space, nutrients and waste build-up, these limiting factors would eventually, given that we are talking about a closed system, prevent the continuation of exponential growth.
In other words, the graph is going to go from a diagonal line, to a straight line, to a downward line, the latter falling under a process rather aptly entitled ‘death phase’ in the example of bacterial growth.
This however, does not mean that we can’t extrapolate into the future at all, there are times when trends continue for long periods of time, and if you can figure out what the limiting factors are in these trends we can predict future developments to an even greater degree.
Although there is always the unpredictable nature of the universe.
Let me drop the example of the global financial crisis here, one that nobody apparently saw coming, just when it looked like the global economy was in its golden age it fell apart, and although some say now that there were warning signs, nobody predicted the fall of the banks like that.
So trends aren’t always reliable, but they’re probably about as good as we can get without actual time travel.