I have to admit that many of my biggest decisions were determined by guesses. Most of them turned out well. It seems like luck was on my side when I made those choices. When it comes to second guessing, those results have been about half wrong and half right. It seems like a good part of my life has been a guessing game. Almost all of the guessing has been a matter of trusting my intuition.
Perhaps this observation is colored by cognitive bias. That is, I see and remember what I want to see and remember. Some of the recollections about my major decisions also rest upon selective memory recall. Our memories are unreliable sources of information. With those caveats in mind, the guesses regarding decisions remain true. In some instances, all I need to do is to consult one of my daily diaries for verification.
These decisions are not to be confused with impulsivity per se. Impulse shopping decisions come about mainly through desire. Later on, we may rationalize the decisions. In my opinion, impulse buying is different than making a guess about something I’ve been thinking about and researching for awhile. The guessing comes up when the pros and the cons seem about equal. Those are educated guesses.
I enjoy reading books by futurists. The writers bring the guessing game to a higher level. Much of their guessing is a matter of extrapolating current trends. I like the works of Raymond Kurzwell. Most of his predictions about technology seem very plausible. One of his most accurate guesses was about how the Internet would expand and become a major part of daily life. Kurzwell wrote The Age of Intelligent Machines back in 1990.
Some of Kurzwell’s other educated guessing regarded nanotechnology and robotics. Currently, his name is linked with the concept of “singularity”. 15 years ago, Kurzwell predicted that science would make advances in our knowledge about protein structure. Much of what he wrote would happen in the short term, did occur.
One of his most useful and common predictions was that that by 1995 there would be a voice-activated writing device. Typewriters that could do that were invented. This idea has expanded to our electronic devices so they can write what we vocally dictate to them. There are smart watches that respond to the human voice.
He also guessed that there would be small, hand-held devices that could allow people to speak to one another in different languages. These are now being marketed over the Internet.
In the near future, we could commonly place calls on our mobile phones that include 3-D holographic images. A supercomputer will become the first true instance of artificial intelligence. Eventually, artificial intelligence will become superior to our own in every aspect of life. There are plenty of hopes and fears regarding artificial intelligence. Many prognosticators and futurists have been guessing about how we will coexist with devices that are smarter than us. Futurists envision a future of whatever things we imagine can be built. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether the good will outweigh the bad.
Another area that uses guesswork is weather forecasting. The fascinating field of meteorology has become more sophisticated with each passing year. Long-range forecasting that is aided by satellite and computer technology is eerily accurate. The much more difficult task of predicting short-term weather has come a very long way. We have weather apps on our devices that quite accurately tell us what the local weather conditions will be for a week ahead and beyond. These guesses are very reliable. Regarding very short-term weather information, precise data about severe storms such as hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards have helped save lives. Basically speaking, weather forecasting is a matter of very educated guessing about the future.
The guessing game is a common aspect of our lives. We all play it and use it in different ways. In a sense, we are all guessers. We engage in fantasy, projection, extrapolation, invent things, make impulse decisions, make educated guesses, and wild guesses. Our species relies upon the guessing game.