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Can ChatGPT foresee the future?

With the rapidly growing popularity of ChatGPT3 by OpenAI in recent weeks, the questions and speculations about what work and tasks (may) become redundant in the future through application of AI are increasing almost even faster. Anything that can better be done routinely and based on detailed understanding of patterns from the (recent) past seems to be falling prey. The many examples people also post on LinkedIn are surprisingly good, but in most cases also rather generic and 'mainstream'.

But when more originality, creativity and associative thinking are required and when relatively new topics and patterns are involved, ChatGPT3 still falls markedly short. This is certainly true for the future, it frankly admits itself (see also the image below): "responses are based solely on the patterns and connections it has learned from the data it was trained on, and it does not have any real-world understanding or knowledge about the world beyond the text it was trained on."

As a futurist and scenario thinker, I am under no illusion that AI can never say anything about the future. Especially since foresight techniques like Future Mapping already make it possible to foresee the future development of key themes, sectors and markets in the short and medium term. But given the existence of surprises, wild cards, black swans and purely chance interactions, a good collaboration of humans and technology will also produce the best results here ... and that is as old as the construction of the roads to Rome.


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