David Orrell is an expert in the prediction of complex systems. He is the author of The Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction (Canadian title: Apollo's Arrow), and The Other Side of the Coin: The Emerging Vision of Economics and Our Place in the World. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, he studied mathematics at the University of Alberta, and received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He works for a biotechnology firm in Oxford.
Appearing during the middle two hours, mathematician and author David Orrell discussed the science of prediction from ancient history until the present day. In particular, he looked at how chaos theory and complexity limit our ability to predict weather, health and wealth. At the Delphic oracle in ancient Greece, predictionswere read out by a woman known as the Pythia, who acted as a channel for the god Apollo. One reason why the system was so successful was that the predictions were vague enough to never be completely wrong, he explained.Weather forecasting is not terribly accurate after 2-3 days because it's based on computer models that can only give rough approximations of atmospheric complexities, Orrell said. Health predictions based on genetic tests can also be misleading, he noted. The last hour featured Open Lines, with a number of callers sharing their predictions. ... More »Host: George Noory