A cute article on incorrect predictions. The future is hard to predict. Do we need to be more harsh on those who make failed predictions? It might help to prevent them from doing so and in the course of so doing might help to make the world a more rational place* **.

Probably the paragraph most relevant to today: Ballmer’s prediction about iPhone from 6 years ago.

* – because surely there is some real importance to the understanding of error bars and probabilities.

** – because building a bridge is also a prediction. Implicit in the building of a bridge is the belief (in this case, a weighing of a set of probabilities) that it will not collapse. The belief is based upon science and engineering. Similarly, a prediction about the weather or climate change is based on science. However, the difference is that the science of weather and climate change sucks as compared to the science of bridges. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these fields are not science. I have always used this as an ad hoc definition of science: predictive power. If you can’t predict the future (accurately and consistently), then what you’re doing ain’t science.

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