Cloth $24.00 ISBN: 9781789142297 Published September 2020 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.

Seeing into the Future

A Short History of Prediction

Martin van Creveld

Seeing into the Future

Martin van Creveld

Distributed for Reaktion Books

288 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $24.00 ISBN: 9781789142297 Published September 2020 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $24.00 ISBN: 9781789142679 Published June 2020 For sale in North and South America only
The ability to predict the future is essential to modern life. Planning for population growth or changes in weather patterns or forecasting demand for products and managing inventories would be impossible without it. But how have people through the ages gone about making predictions? What were their underlying assumptions, and what methods did they use? Have increased computer power and the newest algorithms improved our success in anticipating the future, or are we still only as good (or as bad) as our ancestors bent over their auguries? From the ancients watching the flight of birds to the murky activities of Google and Facebook today, Seeing into the Future provides vital insight into the past, present, and—of course—future of prediction.
Contents
Part I: A Mysterious Journey
1 A Villain of a Magician
2 In the Name of the Lord
3 Oracles, Pythias and Sibyls
4 A Dream to Remember
5 Consulting the Dead

Part II: Be Sober and Reasonable
6 Searching the Heavens
7 Clear and Manifest
8 On Birds, Livers and Sacrifices
9 The Magic of Numbers
10 Decoding the Bible

Part III: Enter Modernity
11 From Patterns to Cycles
12 With Hegel on the Brain
13 Ask, and You’ll Be Answered
14 The Most Powerful Tools
15 War Games Here, War Games There

Part IV: The Lord of the Universe
16 Looking Backward
17 Why is Prediction So Difficult?
18 Is Our Game Improving?
19 A World Without Uncertainty?

References
Further Reading
Acknowledgements
Review Quotes
Physics Today
"What will the weather be like tomorrow, next week, next year? Will there be another war, famine, global pandemic? Will the stock market rise or fall? In Seeing into the Future, military historian and theorist Martin van Creveld provides an overview of some of the myriad methods humans have devised over the millennia to foretell what is to come, from the ancients’ use of prophecy and astrology to today’s mathematical algorithms. In addition to delving into when, where, why, and how those techniques originated, he discusses such questions as why prediction is so difficult, whether modern humans are any better at making predictions than our ancestors were, and whether knowing the future is a good thing."
Nicholas Rescher, distinguished professor of philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
"Martin van Creveld’s Seeing into the Future is a widely informed and deeply thoughtful examination of a critical area of human concern. Anyone seeking insight into the futurology and forecasting, with its manifold involvements in religion, sociology, science, and practical affairs will profit from this instructive and insightful work."
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