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Following Our Own Advice: An On V Prediction Audit

In our “Most Thought Provoking Event of 2011” series last January, we again touched on the theme that,“making predictions is tough”. Fortunately, we aren’t the only ones cautioning against this trend. Several pundits--David Weigel, Fareed Zakaria and Nate Silver--held themselves to account for the predictions they had made during the last year by doing “prediction audits”.

This led Michael C to ask Eric C a simple question, “How well do we follow our own advice? Should we run an ‘On Violence Prediction Audit?’”

We decided that we should. Thankfully, most of our “predictions” fall under the category of “vague guesses about the future”. Also few, if any, of our “predictions” have time stamps on them, which could either be a good or bad thing. Here are our limited predictions for the future, in rough chronological order of when we made them:

Prediction: Another Wikileaks will happen. In “The Most Thought Provoking Event of 2010”, Michael C warned that the intelligence community hasn’t solved the core problems that allowed the first Wikileak to happen. In his defense, though, he didn’t predict when either of these events would happen. In fact, this January we doubled down on this idea, saying that the intelligence community still hasn’t reformed enough to prevent another Wikileak.
   
Status: Hasn’t happened yet, but we’re still waiting.

Prediction: Things in Iraq will stay violent. Michael C predicted, in “The Other Thing That Happened Two Weeks Ago”, that violence in Iraq, which claims hundreds of lives every month, will continue. And possibly get worse. He stands by that, especially if the Kurds and Shiites move to split the country apart.

Status: Confirmed. Iraq remains mired in bombings, murders and simmering sectarian tension.

Prediction: “Terrorist hordes will not invade the U.S.

Status: So far, so true.

Prediction: Leaving the Army “will free up [Michael C] to express himself more. (From “Hasta La Vista...Baby”) That actually hasn’t really happened. Michael C guesses that time tempers all ill judgements, and there is little point to saying things he would regret later.

Status: Wrong...so far (with cryptic laugh).

Prediction: Michael C is not optimistic the U.S. will ever embrace an expansive foreign policy that tries to prevent global conflict instead of just reacting to it. Michael C wrote this in, “Brazil Part 1: Do you know what CioPaz is?

Status: Unclear. One one hand, President Obama has (so far) steadfastly avoided going to war with Iran. On the other, the defense budget feels as sacrosanct as ever, while the State Department gets by on peanuts.

Prediction: Humans will stop fighting wars. In our series on this topic, “Will humans ever stop fighting wars?”, Eric C, Michael C and a few others answered, “Yes, humanity will stop fighting wars.”

Status: So far, so wrong.
   
Prediction: More memoirs will be revealed as frauds. Since Eric C made this prediction in, “You Broke My Heart, Mortenson” and “Is Lying Getting Tougher?”, no major memoir debunkings have occurred.

Status: True. Just yesterday another military fraud was revealed. The internet allows more people greater ability to fact check backgrounds than ever before.

Prediction: A screen version of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian will probably not get made. Eric C a few years back came up with an amazing cinematic take on Blood Meridian that set the novel in Afghanistan (the way Coppola set Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in Vietnam). But we doubt this film, or even a version true to the novel, will ever get made. Unfortunately.

Status: Confirmed. According to iMDb, a Blood Meridian film will be released in 2015. Yeah, good luck on that; according to Wikipedia, there are no official plans.
   
If any readers think we missed any other On V predictions, please let us know in the comments section and we will update it in the next “On V Update to Old Ideas”.

five comments

What is your prediction on the current situation with Iran? Leon Panetta said it was very likely that Israel would use military force to strike Iran in the near future. Coming from the SecDef, that’s a bit unsettling to me.


We avoid making predictions, because it is just too hard. That said, we may have some predictions coming soon.


Evan, yeah I will echo Eric C that we tend to avoid predictions. We are having an internal dialogue to see if Iran warrants our prediction, which odds are will not come true.

Really quickly, we aren’t overwhelmingly optimistic, though tend to believe nothing will happen in an election. Not 100% about that though.


Thanks. I did not realize what exactly you meant by predictions. Took it a bit too literally.


I predict that wars will stop when males stop getting a thrill out of fighting, another 1000 or 2000 generations should do it.