Reflections on the Science & Art of Predicting

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning

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Navigating the Unpredictable

The more I learn about forecasting methods, the more I am humbled by its limitations.

For example, given a dataset of snowflakes, can you predict the shape of the next snowflake? Of course not! Each snow flake is unique! I use snowflakes as analogous to social networks such as organisations, industry, political voter base, customer segments or even individual personality traits, each unique across space and time.

Data Science, Machine Learning and even Artificial Intelligence is handicapped by over dependence on the past and arguably even the present. As our society’s dependence on forecasting methods increases, we must never under estimate the creativity of reality.

We must remember that we cannot see into the future. We can only try.

One important leadership and managerial relevance I see here is to always be prepared for the unexpected. Covid is a great example of reality throwing the unexpected at us!