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What we Learned from the Pandemic. Can we Predict Collapses Before they Happen?

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 My 2019 book "Before the Collapse." In it, I examined several scenarios of the future of humankind. Was I able to predict the current pandemic? Of course not, that took everyone by surprise. But I think I did note an important facet of the story: epidemics are never very deadly when they come alone. They become true killers only when they are associated (typically following) famines. In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, the human population is not so badly debilitated by famines that we may expect a disaster of the size of ancient epidemics.   After nearly one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, we can say that, at the very least, we learned a lot from it. One lesson learned was that we should be much more careful about "model hubris", to think that because a model is complex and detailed, it can predict the future. This problem is well described in a recent paper by Saltelli et al. in a recent paper in "Nature." But perhaps the most important lesson we learned was how easy the future can surprise us and how our perception of it can be remote from reality: We tend to judge from the past, but our mental models are often poorly calibrated. When the COVID-19 started diffusing in the West, many people panicked, some seemed to think that it really was the end of the world. Maybe they had in mind the great plague of the Middle Ages, an image that has been with us for centuries. Now we can see that the coronavirus pandemic it will be very far from being as deadly as ancient epidemics were. It is said that the "black plague" killed maybe 50% of the population of Europe during the 14th century, perhaps even more than that. For the current "plague" caused by the coronavirus, we may estimate that, if the current trends continue, the world may see perhaps 2 million deaths (we are now at about one million). For a world population of nearly 8 billion people, it is such a small number (about 0.025%) that it is even. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

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