Remember Y2K? How about Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History?” And a lot of people are drooling over Stephen Hawkins’ latest about the coming artificial intelligence apocalypse.
We love our predictions. We simply can’t get enough of them.
We go giddy anytime their authors throw us another “Hail Mary” from the cloisters of their think tanks, investment banks or ivory towers.
And what keeps us coming back for more?
They occasionally get it right…and just enough not to make horrible cynics of us all.
Dean Baker, an American macroeconomist, predicted the U.S. housing bubble of 2008/2009 accurately.
Warren Buffett and George Soros have become billionaires many times over thanks to darn fine prognosticating.
And although it was 2014 rather than 1984, Snowden and the NSA leaks fit perfectly into Orwell’s narrative published in 1949.
I can’t precisely put my finger on it why I personally, and I expect most of you, find predictions so irresistible — be they right or wrong — but I expect their allure comes from the conflict, drama and suspense we appreciate in any good story.