Forecasting the future and the future of forecasting


8 November 2022


ANU, Canberra


ANU College of Business, 8 November 2022

People have been forecasting for thousands of years. They forecast whether it will rain tomorrow, how much wheat will be harvested, how long it will take for your dinner to cook, how many widgets their company will sell next month, what the unemployment figure will be in a year’s time, or how much superannuation they will have when they retire.

Some things are relatively easy to forecast and some are unpredictable. Why is it that we can accurately forecast a solar eclipse in 1000 years, but we have no idea whether Google’s stock price will rise or fall tomorrow? How can we forecast the daily electricity consumption for the next week with remarkable precision, but we cannot forecast daily COVID-19 cases with the same accuracy?

In his presentation, Professor Rob J Hyndman FAA FASSA will discuss the conditions we need for predictability, how to measure the uncertainty of our forecasts, and how to evaluate whether we are uncertain enough. Rob will draw on his 30 years of forecasting experience, including forecasting Australia’s health budget for the next few years, forecasting peak electricity demand in 20 years, and producing weekly forecasts of daily COVID-19 cases for all Australian states since March 2020.

He will also look at how forecasting has changed over the last 50 years, and what forecasting might look like in the future.


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