History gives us many reasons to doubt predictions. In 1916, Charlie Chaplin famously called the motion pictures “a fad.” In 1932, website Albert Einstein said that nuclear power was not possible. In 2008, Steve Ballmer predicted the iPhone would be a flop. As these cases show, smart people may see the facts, but not the environmental factors that can shift the entire landscape.
This was particularly true in 2020, a year that redefined “normal” and altered our world in ways we are only beginning to understand. In this environment, the hard job of accurately predicting future trends became that much more difficult. When I look back at my own predictions last year, almost none of them played out as I thought due to the pandemic and the complete upending of the national health care agenda.