How Trend Forecasters Work

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Author's Note: How Trend Forecasters Work

Trend forecasting is a bit like the Force. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds us together. It controls our actions, but also obeys our commands. Fashion forecasters channel current trends, or exert so much influence on the industry that they help push their predictions to fruition. Economic forecasters influence stock prices, but stock market behavior feeds back into the economy. Markets rise and fall based on investor confidence, which is not nearly as rational as we would prefer.

And then there's big data, with its big algorithms, ginned up with little clarity and less transparency. It, too, threatens to define the very aspects of our lives that it purports to predict, but with much direr consequences. That's a trend we might want to get out ahead of.

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