As I have mentioned on my nonfiction page, in my day job I get to play with projections of the future thanks to a microsimulation model called MINT (Modeling Income in the Near Term) that projects the retirement outcomes of a couple hundred thousand actual people based on their lifetime earnings and their responses to an in-depth Census survey.
The model’s latest iteration is MINT 6, and a report on how it works is now available at the Urban Institute’s site. (Social Security contracted with Urban to build it.) MINT 6 is to MINT 5 like the Enterprise-D was to the Enterprise-C: a totally different class of awesome. If you are skeptical that projecting the future is viable, or want to know more about how it’s done, check it out.
If you want to see how me and my fellow analysts use MINT projections, check out some samples (based on MINT 5) here. Sorry, estimates based on MINT 6 won’t be posted until later this year.
Projecting the future is a difficult area, but it is steadily improving on many issues (marketing, politics, demographics, economics, retirement, financial). These incremental and sometimes revolutionary upgrades all keep building to a future where we will be projecting the future in ways that are strictly science fictional-sounding at this point.