Predictions About the Future Don't Account for New Knowledge

One of the reasons making broad, sweeping predictions about the future tend to be wrong is that it does not account for the creation of new knowledge. Trends are not explanations and without an explanatory model of how knowledge will change (i.e. creativity) predictions such as the end of the world are just another example of a Malthusian catastrophe.

That doesn’t mean they are not useful. In the case of climate change, we should not assume success is guaranteed simply and predictions based on current trends is useful if only to lay out the possible scenarios. However, trying to know the unknowable leads to pessimism in policy (e.g. consumption reduction) rather than optimism (e.g. investing in renewable energy research).

See also:

  • Lump of Labor and Why Automation Doesn’t Increase Unemployment

    There is not a finite amount of work that can be distributed throughout an economy. The amount of jobs are not tied to a zero-sum, “lump of labor”. Worries about immigration and automation taking away jobs and leading to unemployment are unfounded. Since the number of jobs are not fixed, changes in the workforce and technology lead to new jobs and or simply different jobs over time.