Cover Photo: photo by SCFiasco/flickr
photo by SCFiasco/flickr

Why I No Longer Make Predictions

I believed I could be protected from what lay ahead as long as I saw what was coming.

I think there’s about an 80 to 90 percent chance that I love you now.

What's the probability I’ll die on a Tuesday while passing that bench by the East River? truth

t complete until I’d done the final calculations to resolve any lingering questions.

I will still be friends with Lisa (i.e., still be on friendly terms with and see her at least twice a month) by the end of 2015: 35 percent.

I will sleep with John: 5 percent.

We will successfully diagnose the cause of Mom's memory loss: 20 percent.

This is not going to happen

Often I was correct in my guesses, but when I wasn’t, the poor performance bothered me little. It was the act of making predictions that I needed. Making a prediction focuses your attention; it says “look here and look out.” That spreadsheet served as road map for the future and a way to equip me for the emergencies ahead.


So, how does one create these emotional estimates?It's really kind of just bullshit,

Want to tell your story?
Write icon@2x 89af7e3341d23388d14d9df2c854707b85437a7e99c2dc75814c8fe1548cc4b7

Angela Chen is a science journalist at The Verge. Her reporting and essays have also been published or are forthcoming in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Atlantic,  Aeon Magazine, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian,  Paris Review, Hazlitt, and more. She is on Twitter: @chengela

More About: Things, Data