Frequently Asked Questions

About TechCast technology forecasts

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How does TechCast differ from Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and the many other business forecasting services?
These technology forecasts are usually based on the judgment of one analyst, but TechCast pools the judgment of an entire panel of experts to create “a scientific consensus.” In fact, TechCast uses the published technology forecasts of Gartner and other groups as inputs to our broader process of pooling knowledge. Our goal is to synthesize the best available information on emerging technologies to produce the best possible answer to tough questions.

How accurate is TechCast?
All technology forecasts are wrong to some extent, but the past ten years of TechCast operations show that the variance in our technology forecasts averages +/- 3 years. Controversial issues may show above average variation, while less controversial items are remarkably consistent. If the existing level of uncertainty is defined as 100%, TechCast reduces it to about 30%. This level of accuracy is sufficient to “get us into the right ballpark,” which is adequate for most applications.

Aren’t “quantitative” forecasts more accurate?
Quantitative technology forecasts may produce precise answers, but they are always based on assumptions and methods that may not be accurate, which is why quantitative technology forecasts can differ considerably. TechCast proves more accurate technology forecasts because we incorporate quantitative technology forecasts into our system to resolve this uncertainty.

Why do the results of TechCast change?
TechCast is operated online in real time, so data inputs are constantly changing as new experts join the system, as old experts update their estimates, as our research staff redefines questions, and as we generally strive to improve the system. This is somewhat messy, of course, but the big advantage is that TechCast data are continually refreshed to provide the most current results possible on emerging technologies.

Why are some technologies missing?
There are infinite innovations underway, so TechCast focuses on the 10 or so most "startegic" technologies we can find in each of our 7 fields, or roughly 70  technologies in total.  Strategic technologies have wide scientific interest, big commercial potential, crucial social impacts, high confidence, and are immediate enough to take seriously. In other words, they have greatest strategic implications and are most likely to affect your organization and you personally.

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