Back on April 9, when the Red Sox began the baseball season winning just one of their first eight games, I wrote:
at the moment. it's not looking so good for the "experts." Sports Illustrated predicted the Red Sox would win 100 games and win the World Series. At ESPN, 33 of its 45 pundits predicted the Red Sox would win the World Series.
As of last night, it became certain that the Red Sox will not win the World Series. They had already lost the American League East division to the Yankees, and last night, they were eliminated from the race for a wild card spot in the playoffs. So again, not only did the Red Sox not win the World Series, they didn't even make the playoffs. It's a chance to repeat the point made here back in April.
If it's this hard to predict baseball, imagine how hard it is to forecast developments in other complex systems. The Federal Reserve tries to fine-tune the performance of the nation's economy through monetary policy. Climatologists try to forecast how warm it will be 50 or 100 years from now and what that will do to sea levels. Predictions in complex systems are hard. That doesn't mean they should never be attempted or acted upon, just that they should be treated with the skepticism they deserve.