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December 31, 2011

Razib Khan’s predictions for 2012

Filed under: Blog,Predictions 2012 — Razib Khan @ 2:46 pm

People often make “year end predictions.” I haven’t done that because I just haven’t bothered. But, it’s probably a nice way to see how full of crap you are. You can look back at how many mistakes you made, suggesting to you that you’re really a lot more ignorant of the shape of reality than you fancy yourself. So I’m going to put some predictions down right now. The title is self-centered, but I want it to be Googleable. There are two classes of predictions. The first class are those which I think have more than 50 percent chance of coming to fruition. I don’t want to pick “sure things,” because what’s the point of that? The second category is different, in that I think the chance of the outcome may be less than 50 percent, and the conventional wisdom is going to be opposite of the prediction, but I suspect the odds are better than people think. I’ll give myself “bonus points” if those come true.


>50 percent probability in my estimation

-  Mitt Romney will win the Iowa primary.

- Ötzi will have his genome published.

- A big paper will come out confirming that there has been massive (on the order of 50 percent or more) genetic turnover across Europe over the past 10,000 years.

- There will be more evidence published of “archaic admixture” events in the genomes of modern humans.

- No state will leave the Euro in 2012.

- The “great stagnation” will continue in the USA. GDP growth will not top 2.5 percent in any quarter. Unemployment will not drop below 7 percent by the end of the year.

- Housing will not bottom out in 2012 (Case-Shiller index in December 2012 will remain the same or below December 2011).

- Sprint will continue to lose ground to Verizon and AT&T in relative market share in mobile phones.

- Chrome will continue to gain share, but more at the expense of IE than Firefox. Firefox will remain within 5% of absolute current market share in December 2012 in relation to December 2011.

- There will be at least 150 references to “quantitative genomics” in Google Scholar in 2012 (vs. 70+ in 2011).

- We will see a $3,000 dollar genome (human sequence) for consumers by the end of the year.

- Time/Newsweek will write a long feature “How Facebook is over” in the last 1/3 of 2012 due to stagnation in active customer base.

- Google+ will be transformed from being a “Facebook-killer” to part of Google’s attempt to create a broader online identity (i.e., it will “fail” as a social network).

- Economic pessimism about India will become more prominent in the American media.

- The public offerings of web 2.0 companies will disappoint.

- There will be less talk about “e-books” after a peak over the summer vacations of 2012 because they will be so “normal.”

<50 percent probability, but greater probability than people think

- We will have the $1000 dollar genome by the end of 2012.

- Barack H. Obama will be reelected president.

- The Democrats will keep their Senate majority (almost perfectly correlated with the previous prediction).

- Greece will leave the Eurozone.

- China’s economic growth will be slower than expected, and will hit 5 percent in one quarter.

- 23andMe will shift away from “retail personal genomics.”

- There will be a major Islamic terrorist event in England or the United States (death toll  >10 = “major”).

- A major revision of our understanding of the archaeogenetics of the New World will be published, using ancient DNA

- The genetic architecture of hair curliness will be elucidated.

- Scientists will discover that 50% of more of the ancestry of most Africans is due to an ancient “back migration” event from Eurasian, on the order of 200 thousand years B.P. (which distinguishes Pygmies and Khoisan, who do not bear as much of this stamp).

- A major paper will be published in a high impact journal outlining the genes for major bio-behavioral differences between human populations.

- Siri will get good enough by December 2012 that people will no longer be able to play jokes on it.

- We will have a public discussion about the near future of widespread prenatal screening as part of national healthcare policy in the USA.

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