I was listening to a podcast today and the host was talking about prediction vs analysis. I think I mentioned this a few days ago when I was talking about the market as an engine and not a camera. The market is something that analyzes the world it does not recreate the world.
So prediction vs analysis… When we create a model what are we trying to do? Are we trying to understand a phenomena? And to what end? Are we trying to understand something in order to predict something?
If we look at analysis, what is that really? In part, that is measurement. We are trying to measure a phenomena. Why? To coordinate perhaps, to plan something.
Only in the last century have we looked at the predictive value of science. That science is confirming theories that we can use to build things like a space ship that did not exist before.
This concept of prediction has interested me for a while, since my time on wall street. What I did was calculate risk, and risk is the probability that something will or will not happen (and if it does/not happen – how big of an impact will it have on other things).
A good analogy is perhaps from medicine. Treating infectious diseases is analytic work, you are sick, lets you analysis to discover what you have, Preventive medicine is more predictive: e.g., lets take these medications/diet etc because our models say you are at risk for some disease.
Clair (from a slack group I participate in) turned me on to this article about various professionals (writers, scientists, economists) who try and predict the future. One futurist said:
From the article (via Anne Lise Kjaer)
Archaeologists find artifacts from the past and try to connect the dots and tell a story about how the past might have been. We do the same thing as futurists; we use artifacts from the present and try to connect the dots into interesting narratives in the future.
This is much different than finding laws in nature or patterns in history. To extrapolate an imaginary future based on facts of today is somewhat wild.
Last year I think I participated in a talk about predictive tech. And this was somewhat informed by my prayer blockchain work. And this is further informed by my thinking about conscious computation. For example, what is it about computation that makes us future thinking/oriented? Is consciousness always building mental models to predict the future, or are these models to understand processes (or what are all the types of models that a mind creates)
Anyway I’ll repeat it here, in large part so I remember and can go back to it in the future:
Augury in the 21 century
Since the caves of Lascaux, humans have attempted to predict and influence the future. (edit: That is if we think the cave paintings are Magic and not commemorative.) Today we have scenario planning and future studies that are supported by the methodology of simulation and empowered by computation. In the past, there was a symbolic relationships between the world and the instruments of prediction e.g, bones in a certain formation meant rain was coming. Today prediction is a two step process, data collection, world building, and interpretation/selection. The bones and their environment (ie milieu) report data points that are reduced to quantitative values. These values are used to along with the perturbations of variables to construct a variety of worlds. We then pick the most likely of worlds as our prediction. [THIS last sentence would want to rework – it is not phenomenological – but I cant think of the world I want to use, I also feel like I might want to talk about simondon and his notion of the relationship between magic, aesthetics, science and ethics]What is the relationship between the simulations of today and the folk practices of divination, and what can we learn from an archaeology of prediction?