Theodore Modis Predictions: 10 Years Later

ISBN 13: 9782970021612

Predictions: 10 Years Later

 
9782970021612: Predictions: 10 Years Later
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This book is about seeing the world dynamically, as if everything in it behaved like a living organism, growing, competing, maturing, becoming weak by old age, and dying. Birth implies death, and whatever you may be preoccupied with -- business, success, misfortune, emotional relation-ships, personal development, or artistic achievement -- is characterized by a life cycle displaying well-defined phases of beginning, growth, decline, and end. The growth potential and the duration of the process may vary from case to case. Some phenomena last for a lifetime whereas others come and go like fads. But independently of the timeframe things come into and out of existence according to the same pattern, which is revelatory and sometimes even reassuring. The book is also about being able to see more clearly further into the future and make predictions, as well as to obtain a better understanding of the past. You will be surprised to find out that it is possible to see around corners! Fundamental natural laws such as competition and survival of the fittest can reveal unique insights into what the future has in store for us. But also into what the past may hide. After all, the past is not immune to the passage of time. Russia's past (Lenin, Stalin, communism, etc.) changed from heroic to shameful in a matter of a few years. And then, there are questions about the past we never asked before because we assumed there could be no answers. In Chapter 2 we answer the question how many explorers attempted to discover America before Columbus. Futurology embraces a large cross-section of individuals ranging from scientists to psychic mediums. They all claim to have ways and means for making predictions. However, proof for correct predictions is rarely demonstrated. Scientifically minded forecasters try to make their approach credible via an exercise, which consists of ignoring some of the recent data while making their prediction and then using these data to verify the prediction. But this practice fails to convince astute minds. Skeptics doubt the effectiveness of forgetting having seen the final out-come. The only really valid test for a prediction is the test of time. You make your prediction and then you wait the time necessary for the truth to come out. Track record cannot be disputed. The predictions made in this book enjoy the test of time. An older version of the book was published in 1992 by Simon & Schuster under the title Predictions - Society's Telltale Signature Reveals the Past and Forecasts the Future. In today's edition those predictions are confronted with recent data. In every chapter new sections have been introduced under the heading "Ten Years Later" reviewing what happened during the last ten years and comparing it to the original predictions. There are many success stories, where prediction and reality have gone hand in hand. But there are also some intricate disagreements. The success stories reinforce our confidence in the original forecasts and the method used. The disagreements are useful in a different way. Predictions that came out wrong are not necessarily failures. It is the reader's prerogative to interpret them simply as unsuccessful forecasts and appropriately distrust further projections of the trends in question. But the author found it rewarding to dig deeper into the reasons that may cause deviations from directions dictated by fundamental natural laws. In many cases the insights obtained this way teach us more than accurate forecasts would have. Among the new material that has been added in this edition are discussions on some issues that have become topical only recently, such as the coming of hydrogen and the war on terrorism. The author is not doing this to become fashionable. The new material either answers questions previously raised, or constitutes a natural evolution of the trends.

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About the Author:

Theodore Modis holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Physics, both from Columbia University, New York. For over ten years he worked at Digital Equipment Corporation as the head of a management science consultants group. Previously, he carried out research in particle-physics experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratories and Europe's CERN. He has published about one hundred articles in scientific and in business journals, and six books. He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Geneva, the European business schools INSEAD and IMD, and the leadership school DUXX, in Monterrey, Mexico. He lives in Lugano, Switzerland.

Review:

Using the science of mathematical formulas known as S-curves, Modis offers a fascinating technique for making forecasts in such areas as AIDS research, economics, life expectancy, and even artistic achievement. Among the book's many intriguing predictions are that a cure for AIDS will not be developed until after year 2000, but the disease will never account for more than 1% of all deaths. --The Futurist Bookshelf, The Futurist, 1992.

You must read this book. It is the most delightful one on forecasting I have encountered in a very long time. Written for the enjoyment of both layperson and professional, it is fascinating and provocative. The author and much of the subject matter presented will be familiar to our readers ... The title originally proposed by the author was The S-curve Adventure, which is far more indicative of the nature of the work. The author has a background in electrical engineering and physics (Ph.D., Columbia) and is a management science consultant at Digital Equipment Corporation International (Europe) in Geneva. He is also a member of our Journal Advisory Board. Modis was clearly inspired by the ingenious Cesare Marchetti and he successfully popularizes the concepts of invariants, logistic or S-curves, and cycles in forecasting. What makes the book such a pleasure is the mixture of marvelous readability and intriguing material. There are breezy personal anecdotes and other light touches, ranging from the fish population along the Adriatic coast and Vito Volterra to an account of his first meeting with Marchetti in his cluttered office at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) near Vienna. ... All in all, a charming and tantalizing ode to the S-curve that you will hate to put down. --Harold A. Linstone, Editor in Chief, Technological Forecasting & Social Change

The undeniable fascination of this book, intended by Modis to reach a literate general publics, is the large and diverse array of topics to which this conceptual scheme is applied the cumulative number of words learned by children from birth through 70 months, the cumulative number of European explorations of the Western Hemisphere following and including Columbus s voyage, the cumulative sales in Europe for Digital VAX 11/750 minicomputer, cumulative oil discovery and production in the United States, the cumulative number of Roman Catholic saints canonized ( Did Christianity begin before Christ? ), the rise and fall of creativity in the life course of artists and scientists and the prediction of their times of death ( Did Einstein publish too much? ) , the cumulative number of American Nobel Prize winners, the substitution of cars for horses in personal transportation, the cumulative number of films produced by Alfred Hitchcock. Studiously obeying the law of the hammer, Modis seemingly cannot resist putting any set of historical time-series data on his personal computer workbench and pounding away. In the process, he subjects virtually every technological growth curve from the first (canals and tunnels), second (railways, steamships, cars, subways, and oil pipelines), and third (paved roads, motorized ships, natural gas pipelines, car populations, Jet engine performance, passenger aircraft performance, passenger air traffic, and personal computer manufacturers and models) waves of industrial growth to analysis, puts forth some intriguing environmental waste-management, and transportation technologies in the forthcoming decades, and even a chaos-theoretic interpretation to the erratic fluctuations often observed after a growth or diffusion process has closed in on its ceiling. I strongly recommend the book to readers who may be interested in such analyses and conjectures. ... It should be noted that Modis is not completely remiss with respect to previous social science research. For instance, he dose cite the relationship of his overall 56-year cycles and evidence on the associated clustering of technological innovations to prior work by Kondratieff and Schumpeter (in my opinion, Modis s evidence on these topics is more extensive and compelling than that of either of these scholars). --Kenneth C. Lang Science, vol. 259, 26 February 1993

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