Tomorrow Never Knows: The Challenge of Making Predictions

How then to assess the accuracy of predictions of things to come? Any serious assessment of P.C. (prediction correctness) ought to look at the record of the past, which is what we did, beginning with science, a domain where logic, experimentation and empirical evidence prevail. An exemplar in this field was William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, the celebrated British physicist, inventor and president of the Royal Society at the end of the 19th century. In 1895 Lord Kelvin observed that ”heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” In 1897 he found that ”radio has no future” and in 1900 he assured his scientific colleagues that ”X-rays are a hoax.”

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