All human civilizations invested heavily in prediction. In the past, shamans read goat entrails or the stars. Our current society employs millions to engage in this kind of work, from stock market analysts to politicians and business leaders whose job -- after all -- is to appraise approaching needs and opportunities, allocating resources accordingly. Trained as a scientist, I tend to view those professions as ill-disciplined! But even science can be murky as it looks ahead.
It is in my role as a science fiction author that I get to stretch a bit, peering beyond the typical five-year horizon. It is the sort of long-gaze shown by the medieval cathedral builders. In science fiction we seldom try to "predict" the future, so much as illustrate trends, extrapolate possibilities… and occasionally to issue stark warnings. George Orwell's classic novel NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR was a "self-preventing prophecy" that stirred millions of terrified readers into action, working to prevent the author's vision from coming true.