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Weblog - Hans Peter Willems: Hans Peter's law of scientific prediction
Posted: 2012-05-19

It is of course not a real scientific based law, but it is in fact based on my observations of several (technological) scientific predictions that where made over the last few years during my AI-research. Discoveries and inventions that where expected to take ten years or more have become reality in just a few years. So I extrapolated several of those events and came up with a number.

So here is it, Hans Peter's law of scientific prediction:

  1. Any prediction made about the timespan needed to get to a future scientific and/or technological breakthrough, will be a factor 3 to 5 times too wide.
  2. This prediction itself will be subject to the same factor.

It should be obvious that there is a bit 'tongue-in-cheek' here, but take a look around at any recent discovery or invention and backtrack just a few years and see what was predicted. It might surprise you ;)

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