The methodology of SF&W and risk management allows addressing these points. They should become rules and principles all analysts follow. Indeed, without paying attention to them, good analysis is impossible. The first article on The Black Swan can be accessed here.
(Notably pp.190-200) Considering uncertainty, but also our imperfect condition of human beings, the complexity of the social world, feedbacks, our more than insufficient knowledge and understanding, we must ….
Second, “black swans” refer to events that could absolutely not be predicted, as, for example for the Economist in ”The prediction games: Our winners and losers from last year’s edition”. Unfortunately, in this case, the label “black swans” excuses foresight errors. It tends to stop explanations and evaluation. Similarly, some will make statements along the line of “oh, but there is no point to do any foresight (or futures work or forecast), did you not read Taleb’s Black Swan? One cannot predict or foresee anything.”
This is a rather bold statement, especially when one seeks to anticipate uncertainty and to foresee and warn. We thus need to explore the unpredictability claim further.
This post will present the experiment – assessing a sample of open source predictions for the year 2012 – address the methodological problems encountered while creating the evaluation itself, and underline the lessons learned. The second part (forthcoming) will discuss results.
2012 predictions (2) ZeroHedge, Globalization, The Decade Ahead, And Asymmetric Returns, 12/26/2011 ZeroHedge, Jim Rogers 2012 Outlook: Pessimism With Scattered Crises, 12/26/2011 Derek Abma on 2012 predictions by Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets, “Canada to avoid recession next year despite Europe,” The Vancouver Sun, Financial Post, December 26, 2011 Ryan Mauro, Top 12 Threats to Watch in 2012, Family Security Matters, December 27, 2011 Tony Karon, “If 2011 Was a Turbulent Year for Obama’s Foreign Policy, 2012 Looks Set to Be Worse,” (Survey of the top ten global crisis issues facing the U.S. in the new year), Time.com Global Spin, December 27, 2011. Moneycontrol bureau, “Keep your coats on! It’s going to be a stormy 2012,” (summary of financial and eco […]
The Economist shows the lead in a courageous yet hardly ever done exercise: going back to our own foresight and assess, in the light of the present, what was right and what was wrong. It provides us with an example of how such lessons learned could be endeavoured, underlines questions that should be asked and key challenges for anticipation, and exemplifies how biases can derail foresight.
As expected last week the situation in Egypt did not stabilize and many other issues escalate. Also, of particular interest this week as weak signal, we find the importance of religion in times of hardship, when all hopes seem to be lost. Considering the power of mobilisation and radicalisation of religion, this factor is to be kept in mind.
Horizon Scanning for National Security – No82 – On relativity: If, for example, we believe that Greece will be in the G20 in 7 years or that we are at the end of the economic crisis, notably in Europe, that “new oil” developments and use of coal are very positive, then, Australia’s heat index or European unemployment figures or Basel’s new liquidity rule might be (only “might” of course) weak signals that something is amiss… if we don’t believe the initial statements then those indications are strong signals of escalation, among so many others.