The so-called “experts” made 28,000 predictions about the future, but researchers found they were only slightly more accurate than chance and worse than basic computer algorithms. Most planning and reliance on traditional methods and processes lead to similar errors all while giving people false confidence, especially as the rate of change accelerates. Academics, especially in the social sciences, don’t do much better.
Editor’s note:Vinod Khosla is the founder of Khosla Ventures.
The world is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. In the past, experts with spreadsheets and econometric models or social scientists with subscale studies and linear models may have been useful. These so-called experts extrapolated from what came before, but as the rate of change has increased, looking to the past often is no longer meaningful – especially in a world driven by new technology.
In 1986, the McKinsey consulting group was asked to forecast the number of cell phones that would be in use in the United States by the year 2000; their model predicted fewer than one million, but the actual figure was more than two orders of magnitude greater at 109 million. How could one predict in 1986 what technology would look like by 2000?
Today, the means of production and distribution are being democratized and…
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