Want attention? Make a prediction.

The past, for most people, is static. It’s disempowering. Nobody likes a historian.

And, in general, modern analytics produces artifacts that go to some data gulag. In many ways it’s worse than a museum. At least a museum has curation and it’s an exhibition of some aspect of the past. At least the material is architected to be engaged with and causes enlightenment.

As much as the idea of a museum treatment to archival information is attractive from an operations optimization perspective, it’s the wrong direction.

We belong to a forward-looking society.

Tell me about the future.

Predictions are powerful. They set expectations. High expectations are, rightly or wrongly, the fuel of choice for your average North American manager. They’re empowering. They’re self-fulfilling.

The entire purpose of science isn’t to catalog the past. It’s to make increasingly accurate predictions about the future so that people can make the future better.

Making predictions about the future shouldn’t be based merely on blind faith and a “The Secret” style anchor-and-adjust ignorance. Making predictions is a recursive method because the scientific method is recursive. The science of prediction isn’t perfect, it can’t ever be, but it’s the best place to start.

Attention is paid to prediction because we’re soft-wired to pay attention to prediction. With attention comes scrutiny. We better have a solid frameworks in place for making predictions.

The future, for most people, is dynamic. It’s empowering. Everybody likes a futurist.


I’m Christopher Berry.
Follow me @cjpberry
I blog at christopherberry.ca