Asimov's Psychohistory May Be Possible

Psychohistory, according to Isaac Asimov's 1950's Foundation series, says that "while one cannot foresee the actions of a particular individual, the laws of statistics as applied to large groups of people could predict the general flow of future events." It turns out that Indiana University researchers agree:

Much as meteorologists predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, Indiana University’s Alessandro Vespignani believes we will one day predict with unprecedented foresight, specificity and scale such things as the economic and social effects of billions of new Internet users in China and India, or the exact location and number of airline flights to cancel around the world in order to halt the spread of a pandemic...

... advances in complex networks theory and modeling, along with access to new data, will enable humans to achieve true predictive power in areas never before imagined.

"While the needed integrated approach is still in its infancy, using network theory, mathematical biology, statistics, computer science and nonequilibrium statistical physics will play a key role in the creation of computational forecasting infrastructures," Vespignani said. "And that should help us design better energy distribution systems, plan for traffic-free cities and manage the deployment of the world's resources."

Would-be psychohistorians (like maybe Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman) are presumably rejoicing at this development.


(Psychohistorian Hari Seldon)

Before we really get the party started, though, we would do well to remember that psychohistory is just a discipline; what really mattered was Seldon's Plan. If we produced psychohistorians, what would they plan to do?

Via Creating a real life version of psychohistory from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/29/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

Singing Ringing Tree Wind-Powered Sculpture
'It was like no music Dirk had ever heard, It was eerie and wild...' - George RR Martin, 1977.

Magic Mushroom Nose Spray From Silo Wellness
'I don't need help... that's not my diagnosis!'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'- Harry Harrison, 1970.

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Via Virtual Reality, Mother Encounters Deceased Daughter
'But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Clothes That Do Photosyntheisis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.'

CIMON Companion Robot For Space Station Astronauts
'... in some departments their power is absolute.'

Qbit Robot Bartender Also Makes Coffee
'...he sipped the cognac that the robot bartender handed him.'

Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...'

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.