Some 2020 Foresight —by Jinny Batterson
As we near the end of a year, the end of a decade, our media are full of predictions for coming periods. Most of these predictions will prove either fully or partially wrong. As an aging boomer female with an incomplete grasp of current culture, climate, and politics, attempts I make to foresee the future are even more prone to error. So I have a fallback position—descending probabilities. I’m old enough to remember when weather forecasts were given as “absolutes”: “It will rain tomorrow.” Those of us with weather-dependent tasks or assets could get thoroughly disgruntled if predicted rain failed to materialize.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point, weather forecasters changed the way they presented their predictions. Instead of saying it would definitely rain, they provided probabilities. Especially during summer months when rain came mainly from thunderstorms that could leave one side of a street or road soaked, the other bone dry, such probabilities were a big improvement. We might still be upset if it didn’t rain on our vegetable garden or corn crop, but we were less likely to blame the predictor who gave us a 40% chance of getting rain, thus a 60% chance of our not getting any. We might make more adjustments to cope with a possible dry spell.
At my stage of life, I’m having to learn to cope with the increasing frequency of deaths of contemporaries. As 2019 ends, I’ve just experienced the freak accidental death of a close age-mate friend, while another completes her journey down the path of a terminal illness. So, my first, top-probability prediction:
During 2020, some of us will die (100%).
Those who stay alive all year will be a year older at 2020’s end.
Then it gets dicier. So here’s a set of best guesses:
- Disagreements among elected U.S. officials will continue: 99%
- The 2020 U.S. census will occur: 95%
- The 2020 U.S. elections will occur: 95%
- Women will participate in higher numbers in elections globally: 85%
- Results of some elections will be disputed: 80%
- Globally, human populations will continue to grow: 75%
- Globally, populations of non-human species will continue to decline: 75%
- Disastrous global weather events will increase in frequency and severity: 70%
- The human impact of wars and civil disturbances will decline globally: 30%
- Earth will be destroyed by an asteroid: 10%
- Young people will decide their elders know best: 5%
Happy New Year, all!