Getting It (Almost) Right
Ask any reputable modern futurist to make a prediction, and you'll nearly always get the same general reply: futurists don't make predictions, we talk about scenarios, implications, and forecasts -- structured narratives about future possibilities that make clear the uncertainty and contingency of outcomes.
But push a little harder, and you might hear something a little different: it's always fun to get one right.
So it's with all due humility that I quote the opening of this CNN/Fortune article:
As Wall Street predictions go, Jamais Cascio had a good one. A little less than a year ago, Cascio, a distinguished fellow at think tank Institute for the Future, in a blog post, predicted that retweeting Twitter bots combined with a fake news story posted by hackers on a major media website would cause a market crash. That's pretty close to what happened.
The post in question was "Lies, Damn Lies, and Twitter Bots" from last August. My blog post argued that it would likely take a bunch of twitter bots/hacks acting in concert to shift stock market activity, but it turned out that it only took the temporary hijacking of the Associated Press twitter feed. I guess I over-estimated how risk-averse high-frequency trading systems would be.
So was the point of the hack to get the stock market to undergo a brief crash, allowing someone to make a bunch of money? It's unclear, but the utility of the twitter-driven-flash-crash is now abundantly clear. This won't be the last time something like this happens.