Future “legibility”

Charlie Stross, SF writer, on reality stickness and ability to forecast into the future:

“You don’t need a science fiction writer to tell you this stuff: 90% of the world of tomorrow plus ten years is obvious to anyone with a weekly subscription to New Scientist and more imagination than a doorknob.

What’s less obvious is the 10% of the future that isn’t here yet. Of that 10%, you used to be able to guess most of it — 9% of the total — by reading technology road maps in specialist industry publications. We know what airliners Boeing and Airbus are starting development work on, we can plot the long-term price curve for photovoltaic panels, read the road maps Intel and ARM provide for hardware vendors, and so on. (..)

(..) However, this stuff ignores what Donald Rumsfeld named “the unknown unknowns”. About 1% of the world of ten years hence always seems to have sprung fully-formed from the who-ordered-THAT dimension: we always get landed with stuff nobody foresaw or could possibly have anticipated, unless they were spectacularly lucky guessers or had access to amazing hallucinogens. And this 1% fraction of unknown unknowns regularly derails near-future predictions.”

from this speech on, of all things, AI https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2019/12/artificial-intelligence-threat.html

Legibility is a “seeing like a state” term, James Scott terminology but it sticks lately. Scott Alexander on the experts, journalism and legibility. In different terms, like Nate Silver put it, the surpirsing gap between what you read in the news about Covid and what you could gather yourself from preprints and experts’ twitter threads

The point of Scott is that experts in public position and journalists with duty to report to the public have to strip down what the want to communicate in order to make it “legible” to the wide audience, so information and even message geto lost in mainstreammedia https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/journalism-and-legible-expertise

this is not what I wanted to write, I got carried away by the legibility concept which is probably misappropriated and used outside its intended reach. Anyway I wanted to say really, reality ius mostly sticky and the part that sticks from a decade to the next moves in ways you can guess with a proper knowledge strategy. )0% stays the same, )% changes in this way, 1% can’t be easily guessed and that probably chages the meaning of all the rest

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