What Compels Us to Predict an Unknowable Future?

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Anticipating the future is a classic (and possibly uniquely) human pastime. For as long as humans have kept records of the past, we have also tried to predict our future...and in so doing, control our destiny. Why do we cling to these predictions? The end of the world, the end of humanity, even our future fortunes…why do we anticipate so much?

Sherry Turkle is an M.I.T. professor and the author of the forthcoming book, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other." She says that by predicting future technological advances, we express a sense of hope.

Simon Winchester, freelance writer and author of the book "Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titan Storms and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories," says that as science advances, we have gotten noticeably better at foretelling the future.