The technique may work for bugs in a bottle, and in other examples from the natural world, but can techniques of extrapolation truly tell us much about the future, if human beings are involved?
The momentum of the past does drive us forward, and so extrapolation can seem to be accurate, as a way to predict the future. I can never forget what Hannah Arendt has said, though, and will always be skeptical about how accurate predictions of the future will be, when such predictions are premised on the idea that things don't actually change in character, but only in amount:
"Objectively ... without taking into account that man is a beginning and a beginner, the chances that tomorrow will be like yesterday are always overwhelming.... [but] in the realm of human affairs ... men ... who have received the twofold gift of freedom and action can establish a reality of their own."
Hannah Arendt, "What is Freedom"
Between Past and Future
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