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General Paper Essay Outline : Is there any point to predicting future trends ?

warning handle with care

Disclaimer : This outline is open to discussion. This is not to be taken as the only, or the best, answer to the question

Think about control/empowerment; our values or beliefs as well as the attributes of Man that make us see the point in predicting future trends. (Reference : )

Stand : Yes, there is a point despite …

               1a : There may be some people who are very skeptical about predicting future trends. This view is supported by a number of phenomenal developments that were not preempted, but yet shape our world in significant ways. One of these is the advent of the internet and social media. Today, governments and societies struggle to keep up with the challenges caused by social media that are unforeseen such as the rise of revenge porn among bitter ex-lovers or the hacking of government internet sites as seen in cases in the United States, Australia and Singapore. Because these trends caught us off-guard, it seems possible for even more unexpected trends and problems to arise. This makes predicting future trends appear to be an exercise in futility.

1b : On the other hand, such doubt in predicting future trends could turn us into helpless fatalists. While we concede that we cannot foretell every single development, it is just not right for thinking people to sit on our hands and wait for what surprises will unfold. On the contrary, the careful prediction of future trends can actually raise our chances of success. Consider the case of the nascent economies. A prediction of technology trends could help the government allocate resources to prepare their young people to become the knowledge-driven, technology-savvy workers of tomorrow. India, for instance, stands out for delivering a curriculum that introduces computer programming even in middle class primary schools. Governments that have the responsibility to improve the lives and fortunes of their people cannot just wait passively. They must predict future trends in order to be the first to ride new economic waves. 



2a : Those who are wary of following predicted trends ask : What if the predictions are wrong because they were made based on incomplete information ?

e.g. Sg : two-is-enough >>>> now, not enough babies !

2b : While it is true that hindsight is always 20/20, this doesn’t mean decision-makers should not go ahead and predict future trends. If decision-makers apply the principle of erring on the side of caution, then the predictions can be more helpful than harmful… predictions for safety and survival

e.g. steering away from nuclear power in Japan, natural disaster alerts to initiate evacuation, knowing the trends of diseases to cur the spread of pandemics



3a : Yet another view from among those who question the usefulness of predictions is that there is little point in predicting future trends because they are uncertain. There can be equally plausible but conflicting theories… so which one to follow ?

e.g. global warming or global cooling ?

e.g. fossil fuels depleting or not depleting ?

3b : It is not so much the accuracy of the prediction that matters….The ones who predict and become the authoritative voice of that prediction will gain influence and impact the destiny of others

e.g. Is Sg in a economic bubble about to burst ? Prediction by Jesse Colombo in Forbes magazine (2014). Why did the Sg govt swiftly try to denounce it ? Explain.



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