Benoit Mandelbrot predicts the future


As part of New Scientist magazine’s 50th anniversary, the NS editors asked 50 scientists to forecast the next 50 years. The respondents make for quite a list: Stephen Wolfram, Lisa Randall, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Edward Witten, Freeman Dyson, Kip Thorne…

The responses are brief — 1-3 short paragraphs — and make for entertaining reading. What struck me as most interesting was not the predictions themselves, but how so many of these famous scientists are convinced that the most exciting science of the future lies in their fields. Mandelbrot believes that fractal geometry is about to have an “increasingly central role” (I’ll buy that, actually); Wolfram believes that the excitement lies in the exploration of the “computational universe” (and also that kids 50 years from now will learn cellular automata before they do algebra).

Freeman Dyson thinks that by 2056 we will find evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Interesting stuff.

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