Modeling Long-Term History
Modern Times and the Near Future
By Mark Ciotola
First published on March 11, 2019
Modeling the near future involves two major sources of “fuzziness”. First is the uncertainty in our future ability to make accurate measurements. Second is due to uncertainty associated with extremal events. A large meteor could hit the Earth and wipe out civilization, or at least a large part of it. A really large volcanic eruption could occur or extreme space weather could disrupt the Earth’s environment. There is also uncertainty due to the effects of complexity and possibly free well. It must be done using different approaches for different time windows and levels of accuracy.
Weather provides a good example for understanding. Forecasters can predict the temperatures and precipitation over the next seven days reasonable well, but not beyond that. However, for the next year, forecasters can predict average temperatures and precipitation type and quantity reasonably well. Meteorologists have also identified patterns that repeat over several years (such as El Nino and La Nina), but they cannot predict the exact timing or strength. It is also possible to predict the general climate by location and for the entire Earth for the next hundred or so years, assuming there are no catastrophic changes such as a large meteor hitting the Earth.
There is often much short term “noise”. In weather, there might be a local tornado which deviates the local wind without changing the overall mean wind. One should use probabilistic methods when modeling the future to overcome noise effects.
- Resistance to globalization
- Advancement in automation (robotics, AI)
- Consolidation of financial institutions
- Monetary shifts caused by trade imbalanced
- The 1800s colonia order continues to recede