Thursday, January 2, 2020

How To Think About The Future: A Graphic Prologue

(Note:  I have been writing bits and pieces of "How To Think About the Future" for some time now and publishing those bits and pieces here for early comments and feedback.  As I have been talking to people about it, it has become clear that there is a fundamental question that needs to be answered first:  Why learn to think about the future?

Most people don't really understand that thinking about the future is a skill that can be learned--and can be improved upon with practice.  More importantly, if you are making strategic decisions, decisions about things that are well outside your experience, or decisions under extreme uncertainty, being skilled at thinking about the future can significantly improve the quality of those decisions.  Finally, being able to think effectively about the future allows you to better communicate your thoughts to others.  You don't come across as someone who "is just guessing."    

I wanted to make this case visually (mostly just to try something new).  Randall Munroe (XKCD) and Jessica Hagy (Indexed) both do it much better of course, but a tip of the hat to them for inspiring the style below.  It is a very long post, but it is a quick read; just keep scrolling!

As always, thanks for reading!  I am very interested in your thoughts on this...)


mrkoot said...

Thanks for posting! It directly reminds of Tetlock & Gardner's book "Superforecasting - The Art and Science of Prediction" and the forecasting challenges organized by IARPA. It is a helpful thought that (diligent) practice can enhance forecasting skills.

Last year the Netherlands (where I live) saw its first open-to-the-public forecasting tournament ( ). It was guided by Regine Joseph, who earlier was involved in IARPA's Good Judgment Project.

Karsten W. said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! The cones of the (un)known remind me of a book on Henri Bergson by Gilles Deleuze. The term 'effectuation' (vs causation) was new to me and reminded me of the term 'elan vital' in the same book,

Anonymous said...

Good Morning! When will you be updating part four?
Ash (yes the same Ash)

Kristan J. Wheaton said...

Soon...yeah, that sounds good...soon.