PREDICTIONS - SOCIETY'S TELLTALE SIGNATURE REVEALS THE
PAST AND FORECASTS TRHE FUTURE
Is it possible to predict how long one will live? Can we forecast
future trends in energy consumption and industrial growth? Can we
foresee the course of "old" diseases like tuberculosis and "new"
diseases like AIDS? Do fluctuations in the wold's economy occur at
regular, and thus predictable, intervals?
Until now, foreseeing the future has been the domain of
fortune-tellers and crystal-ball gazers. In Predictions, Theodore
Modis presents the mathematical and scientific techniques that will
enable us to anticipate many future trends and events with a high degree
Bold, illuminating, and utterly compelling, Predictions jolts
us out of traditional patterns of thought to answer a host of questions
about what lies ahead for us as individuals as well as for our society
as a whole. The book draws upon natural growth curves (S-curves) to
explore—and explode—the assumptions we might make about everything from
crime rates and car safety to life expectancy and artistic achievement.
It gives us a fascinating new way to understand our society and
ourselves, both in interpreting the past and predicting the future.
For instance, what would you say if someone told you that most
mammals die at the same age? Impossible? Only if you measure age in
years and months. Things look different if you count the number of
heartbeats. Under natural conditions, the average lifetime of rabbits,
dogs, cows, elephants and humans comprises about one billion heartbeats.
It is only the rate of the heartbeat that varies.
Pointing out that once a natural growth process has been established
its future course is predictable, Modis uses S-curves to chart that
process, whether it is future populations of cars and computers, the
life expectancy of creative geniuses, or the frequency of economic booms
and busts. He illuminates such diverse subjects as the staying power of
products, the birthrate among women, the origins of Christianity, and
the impetus behind Columbus's discovery of the New World. His
predictions include: deaths from AIDS will peak shortly after 1992 and
will never account for more than two percent of all deaths in the United
States; fatal car accidents will increase by 20 percent during the
1990s; the incidence of major nuclear accidents will subside from the
early 1980s, which witnessed five major accidents in three years, to the
point where we can expect in the 1990s not more than one accident in a
period of five years.
Fully illustrated with S-curve graphs, and highly accessible to the
general reader, Predictions scientifically reveals an unexpected
order and simplicity in our lives. With thought-provoking insights into
how, when, and why society undergoes changes, Predictions takes
you on an exciting, intellectually stimulating, and unforgettable