Think it - Crystal Ball

Think it - Crystal Ball
Published On: 23-May-2024

Article by

Muhammad Saeed Babar


Everyone desires to have a look at the future. What would it look like? How would it affect us? There is another desire that is ancillary to seeing the future is to be able to adjust ourselves for the coming events. Or if we can time travel back in time to correct the mistakes thus have a desired future outcome. So we all need a crystal ball

Do we have such a thing? Can we predict the future with 100% accuracy? According to Philip Tetlock, we are about as good at predicting what the future holds as a dart-throwing chimp is at hitting the bullseye. This was the conclusion of a twenty year study. This was the first phase of his research to examine the prediction of the future. But even after this quest for seeing the future never died. Later on after spending another decade on the subject he says that there are superforecasters who can see the future more accurately than the experts and they are not genius. 

When I asked Google Gemini “can we predict the future with some accuracy?”The answer was “Predicting the future perfectly is impossible, but to some extent, yes, we can predict the future with some accuracy, depending on the factors involved.” It went on to explain what we can predict with high accuracy and limited accuracy. But the end line was “Overall, while perfectly predicting the future is a fantasy, understanding the factors involved and utilising the right tools allows us to make increasingly accurate estimates about what might lie ahead.

Then I asked Microsoft Copilot the same question and the answer was somewhat same but with qualification “Certainly! Predicting the future is a fascinating endeavour, and while we can’t achieve absolute certainty, there are methods that allow us to make reasonably accurate predictions.” It went on to advise how we can predict the future. Here it is “Sometimes, simple rules can help us think about the future. For instance, considering trends, historical patterns, and basic principles can guide our predictions. Remember that while we can’t foresee every detail, combining data-driven approaches with intuition and common sense can lead to more accurate predictions.”

One very important thing that Google Gemini told was that “forecast is just an estimate not certainty”. So, we can predict the future with some accuracy by using the tools and in turn accuracy depends on the time span. We can predict the near term future, say one or two years time frame by using the time series and extrapolating the data points. Researchers at MIT have developed a powerful tool called tspDB (time series predict database). It integrates prediction functionality directly into existing time-series databases, making it user-friendly.

There are no such things as “Oracles”. All you need is a common sense and some experienced person in your business who has traversed the ups and downs of the business and an open mind for the latest development around you. Luckily, the strategists have developed a framework to methodically look for such developments. It is called PESTLE. 

PESTEL represents the acronym for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal elements. By examining these six categories, businesses can gain a better understanding of the external forces and trends that may affect their industry and develop strategies to adapt or capitalize on them.

Don’t worry or bog down by the complexity of forecasting the future. Maulana Jala Ud Din Rumi says:


“As you walk on the way, the way appears.”


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