You Are Not a Futurist

I’ll double down on something I wrote last week: Don’t predict, describe.

Especially: Describe trends and tell us where/what they will lead to.

Right now, expert predictions are, at best, thought exercises that verge on entertainment. At worst, they’re horoscopes: almost always wrong, almost always without accountability, almost always hiding one or more key and very debatable assumptions.…

The Authority Void & How You Fill It

Boy, do we have an authority void right now when it comes to reliable, timely, actionable information about COVID-19. How to fill that void? Three options:

1) Wait for a centralized authority to get its act together. Good luck. As Matthew Karnitschnig searingly puts it in his Politico piece, “The incompetence pandemic”:

From Beijing to Brussels, from Rome to Washington, London and beyond, politicians haven’t just failed to rise to the occasion, they’ve engaged in a dangerous game of parsing, obfuscation and reality-denial that has cost lives and delayed a resolute response.

Don’t Be a Riskhole

Too many authorities — mostly business pundits and journalists, but also some scientists, economists, psychologists and even doctors — continue to tell the rest of us we’re misreading the risks of COVID-19 and are overreacting to it in a fit of panic.…

Confidence & Uncertainty

Information about COVID-19 right now is piecemeal, sometimes contradictory and always at least somewhat uncertain. The scruffiness resembles how research might look as it assembles its models of reality, otherwise known as knowledge.

But research is a structured conversation through the literature, a call and response that confirms advances and signals dead ends in its reality models.…