Our mission at almanis is to harness and champion a fundamentally better way of forecasting events – of determining ‘the likelihood of things’. We believe in the science of crowd-sourced forecasting: that through harnessing the power of the crowd, we can create a prediction market more accurate than any that has come before, capable of producing insights more accurate than those of the traditional ‘experts’.

As a species, we certainly need to do better. From war and politics through to economics, technology, business and even the weather – our history is littered with terrible predictions, many of which came from exceedingly clever people, the foremost experts of their time.

Selecting ten of the worst examples is a thoroughly subjective affair, but we’ve given it a shot with a view to exploring the types of bad predictions that crop up time and time again. Below is the first, and we’ll put up a new one each day. We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comments section: which were the most disastrous, and where did they go wrong? Which others have we missed, and have we been too harsh on any them?

Follow the Terrible Predictions series via the links below.

  1. Khrushchev predicts that the Soviet Union will outlast the Capitalist West
  2. Dewey beats Truman
  3. The television/telephone/automobile/ photocopier/computer/internet/ smartphone (delete as appropriate) won’t ever take off
  4. Thomas Malthus predicts a hard limit to population growth
  5. Harold Camping predicts the world will end on September 4th, 1994 (and again on May 21st, 2011)
  6. The Year 2000 and the Y2K bug
  7. The 2008 financial crash
  8. No hurricane on the night of the great storm
  9. It’ll be over by Christmas
  10. Sadam’s WMDs

Discussion

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