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Scanning The Horizon: If The Future Is Unknowable, Why Bother WIth Forecasting?

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Publishing Body

Modern War Institute

Owning Unit(s)
Pardee Center for International Futures
Associated Unit(s)
Pardee Center for International Futures

Op-Eds

Collin Meisel

January 08, 2024

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By: Meisel, C., & Petry, C. (2024, January 8). Scanning The Horizon: If The Future Is Unknowable, Why Bother WIth Forecasting? Modern War Institute. https://mwi.westpoint.edu/scanning-the-horizon-if-the-future-is-unknowable-why-bother-with-forecasting/

As we rounded the corner into the new year, our media feeds were once again bombarded by that annual tradition: retrospectives on the past year, its lessons learned, and predictions of what’s to come in the year that follows. The latter category is sure to come with cautionary caveats—namely, that “prediction is difficult, especially about the future.” It’s an old saw—variously attributed to Neils Bohr, Yogi Berra, Mark Twain, and others—often trotted out by analysts when asked to opine what the future holds. And as the dramatic events in Ukraine have illustrated over the past two years, it’s especially applicable to forecasts of war.

The future is fundamentally unknowable, so why bother making forecasts about war or any other phenomena?

 

 

Keywords: Pardee Center
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