It accurately predicted population, was 80% correct for computer and communication technology, and 50% correct for other technology (Albright 2002).On even longer time scales, in 1900 the engineer John Watkins did a good job of forecasting many basic features of society a century later (Watkins 1900) […] Some say no one could have anticipated the recent big changes associated with the arrival and consequences of the World Wide Web.He believes there will be “peas as large as beets” and “strawberries as large as apples” (these are two separate predictions; he is weirdly obsessed with fruit and vegetable size).We will travel to England via giant combination submarine/hovercrafts that will complete the trip in a lightning-fast two days.[Note: I really liked this book and if I criticize it that’s not meant as an attack but just as what I do with interesting ideas.Note that Robin has offered to debate me about some of this and I’ve said no – mostly because I hate real-time debates and have bad computer hardware – but you may still want to take this into account when considering our relative positions.Forecasts were significantly more accurate than random, even forecasts 10 to 25 years ahead.This was true separately for forecasts made via many different methods.
The letters C, X, and Q will be removed from the language.There are some people who are destined to become adjectives.Pick up a David Hume book you’ve never read before and it’s easy to recognize the ideas and style as Humean.Everything Tolkien wrote is Tolkienesque in a non-tautological sense.This isn’t meant to denounce either writer as boring. They produced a range of brilliant and diverse ideas.Watkins is classically given some credit for broadly correct ideas like “Cameras that can send pictures across the world instantly” and “telephones that can call anywhere in the world”, but of his 28 predictions, I judge only eight as even somewhat correct.For example, I grant him a prediction that “the average American will be two inches taller because of good medical care” even though he then goes on to say in the same sentence that the average life expectancy will be fifty and suburbanization will be so total that building city blocks will be illegal (sorry, John, only in San Francisco).But there was a hard-to-define and very consistent ethos at the foundation of both. Robin Hanson is more like himself than anybody else I know. ” sometime around 2008 after reading his blog Overcoming Bias.He’s obviously brilliant – a Ph D in economics, a masters in physics, work for DARPA, Lockheed, NASA, George Mason, and the Future of Humanity Institute. Since then he’s influenced my thinking more than almost anyone else I’ve ever read.Mild content warning for murder, rape, and existential horror.Errors in Part III are probably my own, not the book’s.] I.