Predicting the future is really hard. However, creating the products that will shape the future requires us to imagine the world of that future. For instance, if you’re planning to revolutionize transportation, the cost of gasoline, existence of roads, and population density 20 years from now is probably important. Market researchers will often take current trends, draw a straight line into the future, and then gladly take your $1000 per report. A slightly more sophisticated model might take all the quantifiable expert predictions and then average them out to give you a high number, a low number, and the average or “right” number.