Predictions are difficult, especially when they're about the future.
There's an interesting new website up, Wrong Tomorrow, that strives to track and report on the predictions of various pundits and prognosticators. Turn out that my prediction that the Mexican state won't see 2012 is up for testing--though, highlighting one weakness of the site, it takes my prediction out of context, dropping the first half of my prediction that some form of state-shell may exist in Mexico for decades. I didn't intend my prediction to be inherently testable or not testable--perhaps in the future I will be more careful to conclude with an empirically testable prediction...
While predictions and record-keeping can be interesting, and can even serve an important purpose by highlighting the past inaccuracies of someone offering a new prediction, I'm more interested in the methodology of prediction. After all, each of us, every day, stakes our lives and our family's lives on our ability to predict the future. I talked briefly about my theory of prediction in my essay Hedging the Future Solution Space, which highlights that, while predictions may be fun, the more utilitarian approach (until I can figure out how to be 100% correct in predicting everything) is to outline the possibilities and then see how we can make choices today that will fare best regardless of the outcome. If you check the investment theory outlined in that article, it would have worked out quite well over the past 18 months. I only wish I had followed it more closely myself (I was leveraged long oil and short the S&P500, but excessively weighted in the former so that my gains in my S&P super-bear fund didn't cover my recent losses in oil--though I'm holding my 2011 crude oil calls because I still think there's a good chance of the price shooting up again).
So, over the next few weeks, this will be the focus of my posts: the development of a future modeling and decision-making methodology that will maximize outcomes in a very uncertain future. I'll be focusing on a decision-making system for the individual, but many of the principles will work equally well for Nation-States and Corporations. In my mind, the key difference between these actors is that it is always the individual (as opposed to the currently reigning politician or CEO who can just walk away) that ultimately must carry the bag for failure to integrate the need for resiliency into our decision making. Therefore a goal of my methodology will be to optimize future resiliency in the absence of perfect knowledge of the future outcome.
Readers may also find my litigation checklist of interest.