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Seeing into the Future

A Short History of Prediction

"What will the weather be like tomorrow, next week, next year? Will there be another war, famine, global pandemic? Will the stock market rise or fall? In Seeing into the Future, military historian and theorist Martin van Creveld provides an overview of some of the myriad methods humans have devised over the millennia to foretell what is to come, from the ancients’ use of prophecy and astrology to today’s mathematical algorithms. In addition to delving into when, where, why, and how those techniques originated, he discusses such questions as why prediction is so difficult, whether modern humans are any better at making predictions than our ancestors were, and whether knowing the future is a good thing."

Physics Today

If there is anything that distinguishes us from animals, it is our ability to understand that such a thing as the future exists and our willingness to try and look into it.
But how have people through the ages gone about making predictions? What were their underlying assumptions, and what methods did they use? Have increased computer power and the newest algorithms improved our success in anticipating the future, or are we still only as good (or as bad) at it as our ancestors?
From the ancients watching the flight of birds to the murky activities of Google and Facebook today, Seeing into the Future gives us an insight into the past, present and future of prediction. Les mer

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If there is anything that distinguishes us from animals, it is our ability to understand that such a thing as the future exists and our willingness to try and look into it.
But how have people through the ages gone about making predictions? What were their underlying assumptions, and what methods did they use? Have increased computer power and the newest algorithms improved our success in anticipating the future, or are we still only as good (or as bad) at it as our ancestors?
From the ancients watching the flight of birds to the murky activities of Google and Facebook today, Seeing into the Future gives us an insight into the past, present and future of prediction.

Detaljer

Forlag
Reaktion Books
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
ISBN
9781789142297
Utgivelsesår
2020
Format
22 x 14 cm

Anmeldelser

"What will the weather be like tomorrow, next week, next year? Will there be another war, famine, global pandemic? Will the stock market rise or fall? In Seeing into the Future, military historian and theorist Martin van Creveld provides an overview of some of the myriad methods humans have devised over the millennia to foretell what is to come, from the ancients’ use of prophecy and astrology to today’s mathematical algorithms. In addition to delving into when, where, why, and how those techniques originated, he discusses such questions as why prediction is so difficult, whether modern humans are any better at making predictions than our ancestors were, and whether knowing the future is a good thing."

Physics Today

"Van Creveld summarizes this book by considering just how accurate these models can be, and indeed how accurate they should be. Any real ability to foresee the future is, he suggests, likely to be just as dangerous as past rulers thought they would be when they sentenced prophets and mystics to the flames or the axe! . . . This is an interesting book on a topic which we have all pondered at some time, and provides a great deal of food for thought."

Magonia Review of Books

"Creveld covers a broad range, from tribal shamans to Greek sibyls, Israeli prophets, the Prophet Muhammed, Hildegard of Bingen, Nostradamus, and contemporary mediums. In addition, Creveld describes such systematic approaches to prediction as omens, numerology, and the Bible and looks at the contemporary use of mathematical models, artificial intelligence, war games, algorithms, and the Delphi method, which solicits predictions from a number of people, all using their preferred methods for assessing the future. . . . Recommended."

Choice

"Creveld’s new book, Seeing into the Future, examines the principal methods that have been used for looking into the future throughout history. . . . Creveld’s original emphasis on the historical methods of prediction enriches previous scholarship. The book explores a number of predictive methods prevailing over time: speculation, deduction, extrapolation, polling, and modelling. . . . Creveld’s historical overview could have modified Abraham Lincoln’s aphorism: the best way to predict your future is to engineer it."

Technology and Culture Journal

"Martin van Creveld’s Seeing into the Future is a widely informed and deeply thoughtful examination of a critical area of human concern. Anyone seeking insight into the futurology and forecasting, with its manifold involvements in religion, sociology, science, and practical affairs will profit from this instructive and insightful work."

Nicholas Rescher, distinguished professor of philosophy, University of Pittsburgh

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