The future of science and engineering
Hamming, Richard W.
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It is said that there are more than one hundred ways of predicting the future, which suggests that most of them must not be very effective! The three obvious ways are: (1) study history, (2) use current trends, and (3) use your imagination. History tends not to repeat itself since the situation is never the same, but again it does tend to repeat because it is still the same humans who are creating history. Santayana said, "Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It is perhaps an exaggeration, but does have an element of truth in it. The second tool, measuring current trends, is hard because the trend is essentially a difference over a short time and is hence very subject to small errors as well as local chance phenomena. The third tool, the use of the imagination, I have found to be the most valuable in the long run. If the method is to be at all effective one must think hard, reject one's first opinions, and struggle for basic clarity.
Includes manuscript annotations.from Richard W. Hamming collection (NPS-018), Naval Postgraduate School. Papers and Speeches.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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