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wundayatta's avatar

If you had to tell someone's future, how would you go about it?

Asked by wundayatta (58571points) February 7th, 2010

I just asked someone, kind of as a joke, to tell me my future. Then I started thinking about how I would do it. I often get feelings about people—maybe not their future, more about their past or who they are. But I think that leads to the future. I’ll talk more about it later.

How would you do it? Would you use voodoo? Cards? Tea leaves? How about data? How about interviews? What would you do?

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17 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would do it in the voice of a drunk parrot to lend it some credibility ;))

ETpro's avatar

Realizing that it’s a scam, I would invoke as much shaministic mumbo jumbo as my mind could come up with after a good Internet search. Then I would list a series of things that were going to happen to them making sure that each one was; 1— likely to happen and something they are likely to want to make happen, especially when reinforced by their belief in the “prophecy” and 2—far enough in the future that when anything remotely similar occurs, they will have forgotten enough of the details that their minds will make it fit and for the things that don’t come true, they will no longer remember.

wundayatta's avatar

@ETpro So you can’t imagine doing it in a non-scam way? Like, if you were to tell your own future—or just make any kind of prediction—what would you do? Throw your hands up in the air and say it’s up to fate?

rovdog's avatar

I would reveal the future to the person with a serious of signs- elaborate ruses orchestrated with careful planning over weeks or months- so that they would realize my prediction of their future themselves, thinking that a higher power was involved, and never knowing my existence. I’m that diabolical.

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta I do not believe that the future is preordained. I believe that chance occurrences, personal decisions of mine and tons of others all interact to help determine the future. Also, there are events that truly are preordained but that are not visible to you or to me. For instance, a huge asteroid collided with earth 65 million years ago. That event was set in motion by the big bang, perhaps, So it had been determined from the foundation of the universe 13.7 billion years ago. Had that not happened, you and I would not be here. Humans would not have evolved, because dinosaurs would still rule the earth and nothing but small, hidden mammals would be able to survive among the giant predators.

But who knew that the asteroid would hit us? Who knows when the next one the size of Mount Everest will slam into earth, altering history yet again? So even though parts of the future are predetermined, they aren’t clearly discernible and so aren’t of use in predicting the future.

I can safely predict that the world’s largest volcanic caldera in Yellowstone Park will erupt again wiping out most life in North America. But until it telegraphs its intentions with swelling lands being pushed up by rising magma and a serise of earthquakes warning us of impending doom, I can’t pin down the right decade, or century or even millennium.

So when someone claims to be able to predict the future, I listen. But with a skeptical ear. .

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’d tell them that for me to accurately predict their future, my husband and I must have sex with them.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Ha! You want to tell my fortune?

wundayatta's avatar

@ETpro I have to believe you are being somewhat disingenuous. You sound like a fairly scientific kind of person. As such, you would know that scientists are always making hypotheses that they study so as to see whether these hypotheses are of any use in predicting the behavior of something.

There are any number of psychologists here who have a lot of information about human behavior patterns, and I’m willing to bet they could interview someone and make some fairly good predictions about that person’s general behavior patterns. I would think that, knowing the person was in therapy, they might make better predictions.

I make predictions all the time about people’s behavior. That’s how I decide if I can trust them or not—or rather, based on those predictions, I decide whether to trust or not.

I’m not talking about predicting an event such as the collision of an asteroid on such and such a date. I’m talking about things like if a person is drunk and driving, they are more likely to have an accident. If you know a person is an alcoholic, or if they have a mental illness, or if they are wealthy, surely you make some predictions about them? Surely, if they came to you and asked you for a prediction of some kind, you could do it?

It’s all probabilities. But some people get their predictions right more often

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta We may be saying the same thing in different ways. I said I would predict things I thought they were predisposed to make happen, and that they would further approach because it had now been prophesied. I’m not really telling the future when I do that. I am just placing a series of educated bets.

wundayatta's avatar

Ok. I’ll go with that.

Shuttle128's avatar

I would create a neural network program that used thousands of data points related to the persons past. I would then meticulously train the neural network using information about other people’s past and correlate the outcomes to the data points. Then I would have my friend input his past experience data points and we’d see where it goes.

The is about as accurate a prediction as I would think could be made (which would most likely not be very accurate at all).

ninjacolin's avatar

tell them something obvious, true, and interesting about themselves. ask a few probing questions to ascertain more obvious and interesting truths. keep going until enough is known to predict some obvious and interesting thing that would predictably come true under exacting circumstances.

Steve_A's avatar

Hey guess what, your fired…..just a day earlier.

Nullo's avatar

I would look at what they’ve done, what they plan, and combine that with whatever else I know about them, and guess a general outcome.

For instance, I know a guy who has, at various points in his adult life, intended to be a trucker, diplomat, lawyer, chef, and small business owner. I also know that he talks big and dreams big, and tends to get caught up in romantic ideas, but lacks follow-through when you get to the boring stuff. I stopped holding my breath somewhere between trucker and diplomat. though he came quite close to meeting the chef/small business owner goal. Right now he maintains the website for the family business.

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