Each New Year, two things are certain: Many people will make resolutions that they won’t keep, and many pundits will make predictions that will not pan out. Among the slew of predictions about world events offered at the beginning of 2023, some are closer to optimistic wishes, like United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ hope that the war in Ukraine will end this year. Others are simply bizarre, like former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s prediction that Germany will transform into a Fourth Reich and that Texas and Mexico will unite.
For many, predictions are simply a fun exercise. But for pundits, they are more than that, as they offer a stress test for how well we truly understand our world. In order to predict, we must first understand.
Of course, we make predictions knowing that there is much room for surprise. From the onset of COVID-19 as a global pandemic to the scale of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several major events that took place over the past few years came as a shock due to their scale and scope, if not quite a surprise that came out of nowhere.