We tried to predict 2020. Here’s what we got right — and so very wrong.

by EA Introductory Program1 min read4th Jan 2021No comments

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Forecasting
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At the start of 2020, the Future Perfect team sat down to try to predict what was to come in 2020.

What fools we were.

It’s not that all our predictions were way off — many of them have in fact been borne out, and our overall track record as predictors is fairly solid. But still, it feels like predicting Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee and that we’d see record California wildfires doesn’t quite qualify as having seen 2020, the year of Covid-19, coming.

The best 2020 prediction Future Perfect made, in some sense, was not any of our specific 2020 predictions but our long series of posts in the past couple of years arguing that a pandemic was likely someday, and our predictions that it would be devastating when it happened. Those posts didn’t name 2020 in particular. There was no way to know at the start of the year that this would be the one in which a pandemic turned everything we thought we knew about the world upside-down. But those earlier articles were in many ways more prescient than our specific predictions for the year.

Nonetheless, we’re here to revisit our specific 2020 predictions. Predicting the future is a skill, at which some people are dramatically better than others, and practicing is one of the best ways to improve at it. Recording our expectations every year helps us get better at seeing what lies ahead.

And looking back at our predictions is an accountability exercise, too. Readers look to Vox because they believe we have some insight, through our reporting, into making sense of the world. When we evaluate our predictions, we quantify where we’ve done best at seeing what lies ahead and where we need to improve.

Here’s what we got right and wrong about the year 2020.

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