How to Predict the Future
The Dilbert Future
By Scott Adams
No of Pages: 256
ome people try to predict the future by assuming current trends will continue. This is a bad method. For example, if you applied that forecasting method to a puppy, you'd predict that the puppy would continue growing larger and larger until one day--in a fit of uncontrolled happiness--its wagging tail would destroy a major metropolitan area. But that rarely happens, thanks to the National Guard.
The future never follows trends, because of three rules I have named after myself in order to puff up my importance.
Adam's Rule of the Unexpected
Something unexpected always happens to wreck any good trend. Here are some examples to prove my point:
||Unexpected Bad Thing
|Computers asllow us to work 100 percent faster.
||Computers generate 300 percent more work.
|Women get more political power.
||Women are as dumb as men.
|Popular music continues to get better.
||I get old.
Adam's Rule of Self-Defeating Prophecies
Whenever humans notice a bad trend, they try to change it. The prediction of doom causes people to do things differently and avoid the doom. Any doom that can be predicted won't happen.
Here are some examples of dooms that people predicted and how the indomitable human spirit rose to the challenge and thwarted the prediction:
|Prediction of Doom Human Response
|Population will grow faster than food supply
||Scientists realize you can call food supply.just about anything a "meat patty."
|Petroleum reserves will be depleted in twenty years
|| Scientists discover oil in their depleted in twenty years.own hair.
|Communism will spread to the rest of the world
||All Communists become world.ballerinas and defect.
I might have some of the details wrong; I'm working from memory here. But the point is that none of those predictions came true once we started worrying about them. That's the way it always works.
Adam's Rule of Logical Limits
All trends have logical limits.
For example, computers continue to shrink in size, but that trend will stop as soon as you hear this report on CNN A computer systems administrator sneezed, and his spray destroyed the entire military computing hardware of North America, leading to the conquest of the United States by Haitian bellhops. More on that later, but first our report on the healing powers of herbal tea.
At that point, we'll say, "Hey, may be those computers were too small." That will be the end of the shrinking computer trend.
If all trends end, what can we look at to predict the future? There are some things in life so consistent that they are like immutable laws of human nature. You can predict most of the future by looking at these immutable laws and applying logic.
Immutable Laws of Human Nature
Those are the things that will never change, no matter what else does. People don't change their basic nature, they just accumulate more stuff upon which they can apply their stupidity, selfishness, and horniness. From this perspective, the future isn't hard to predict.
I realize that by telling you my secrets I'm not only opening my kimono, but I'm also doing jumping jacks in front of your picture window, if you catch my visual gist. But I'm not worried about you learning my secrets, because I'll always be one step ahead of you.
In the future, you will wish I had never put the image in your head of me doing jumping jacks in an open kimono.
Copyright © 2001 by Scott Adams
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