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Wrong Tomorrow - A Brin Predictions Registry?
Wrong Tomorrow is a new site created by Maciej Ceglowski to keep track of the predictions made by public figures. The site has a simple, friendly user interface, making it easy for users to enter the predictions. Ceglowski says:
"I figured it would be nice to have a single place where you could go to unequivocally check the track record of pundits in politics, finance and my own field, information technology."
The site FAQ mentions that research has shown that experts make predictions at a rate worse than chance. The Wrong Tomorrow site "exists in order to hold people and media outlets accountable for pretending to see into an unpredictable future."
The site then holds the predictions, displaying them sorted by author, date and status (see screen shot below).
(Sample predictions from WrongTomorrow.com)
This is a very likable site, and might serve a real social function - cutting down on the total number of blowhards by exposing their poor records. This is particularly true for people who make their living by claiming to see what is going to happen next.
This site might also bring to the fore the people who have an uncanny knack for seeing into the future and highlighting important aspects of it - namely, our favorite science fiction authors.
I'd like to suggest that the site also include a link or reference to the source of the prediction. (It turns out that you need to submit one when submitting a prediction.)
This site is similar to an idea expressed by David Brin in his 1990 novel Earth.
"Anyone who tries to predict the future is inevitably a fool. Present company included. A prophet without a sense of humor is just stupid."
That was how his grandmother had put it, once. And she ought to know. Everyone praised Jen Wolling for her brilliant foresight. But one day she had shown him her scorecard from the World Predictions Registry. After twenty-five years of filing prognostications with the group, her success rating was a mere sixteen percent. And that was better than three times the WPR average.
(Read more about Brin's World Predictions Registry)
Be sure to take a look at the Wrong Tomorrow website. See also David Brin's article Accountability for Everyday Prophets:
A Call for a Predictions Registry. See also my list of ideas from Brin's novel Earth, which now stands at 23 and David Brin's blog post on the prediction registry.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/2/2009)
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