The authors (Scoblic, Peter and Tetlock, Philip) argue that there is a better method of strategic foresight than one based on simplistic explorations of the past. One should instead consider smart estimates for the future. This involves reconciling two approaches often seen to be at philosophical loggerheads: scenario planning and probabilistic forecasting.
Each approach has a fundamentally different assumption about the future. Scenario planners maintain that there are so many possible futures that one can imagine them only in terms of plausibility, not probability. By contrast, forecasters believe it is possible to calculate the odds of possible outcomes, thereby transforming amorphous uncertainty into quantifiable risk. Since each method has its strengths, the optimal approach is to combine them.
Published November 2020