The crystal ball of behaviour prediction is looking in the wrong direction.


This morning I read another breathless piece from a consultancy. An agency with clever people who were confidently asserting that post-COVID we’re all going to be behaving differently, permanently, that the world from our recent past is gone and we need to embrace new behaviours.

It’s madness. So I made this*.

The red line represents how long we’ve lived with COVID (and it’s about 4 times thicker just so it’s visible). For simplicity, I’ve plotted four generations, the most immediate influence on our lives and a significant shared accumulation of behaviours and experience; but preceding that there are about 200,000 years of human existence that converge on today. We know a huge amount about how that evolutionary experience defines the way we live, that is which should inform how we behave in the near future, not a reflexive pivot around a thin red line.

So let’s tone down the hyperbole, we’ll be behaving in the same predictable ways and evolving at just the same pace this time next year. Those insight/agency crystal balls would do much better to look to the past than prophesying.

* Note, not actual birth/death dates 🙂
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