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He future is a time period commonly understood to contain all events that have yet to occur. It is the opposite of the past, and is the time after the present. In the Occidental view, which uses a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the projected time line that is anticipated to occur. In special relativity the future is considered to be absolute future or the future light cone. In physics, time is considered to be the fourth dimension.

In the philosophy of time, presentism is the belief that only the present exists and the future and the past are unreal. Religions consider the future when they address issues such as karma, life after death, and eschatologies that study what the end of time and the end of the world will be. Religious figures have claimed to see into the future, such as prophets and diviners. Organized efforts to predict or forecast the future may have derived from observations by early man of heavenly objects.

Future studies, or futurology, is the science, art and practice of postulating possible futures. Modern practitioners stress the importance of alternative and plural futures, rather than one monolithic future, and the limitations of prediction and probability, versus the creation of possible and preferable futures.

In art and culture, the future was explored in several art movements and genres. The futurism art movement at the beginning of the 20th century explored every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, poetry, theatre, music, architecture and even gastronomy. Futurists had passionate loathing of ideas from the past, especially political and artistic traditions. Instead, they espoused a love of speed, technology, and violence. Futuristic music involved homage to, inclusion of, or imitation of machines. Futurism expanded to encompass other artistic domains and ultimately included industrial design, textiles, and architecture. Science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein defines sci-fi as "realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method." More generally, science fiction is a broad genre of fiction that often involves speculations based on current or future science or technology.

Organized efforts to predict or forecast the future may have derived from observations by early man of heavenly objects, which changed position in predictable patterns. The practice of astrology, today considered pseudoscience, evolved from the human desire to forecast the future. Much of physical science can be read as an attempt to make quantitative and objective predictions about events. These respective futures would take place after the present, in the times that follow. In other similar words, what follows is the future. And if you're right in predicting said future, then you're right. But this is not forecasting. Forecasting is the process of estimation in unknown situations. Due to the element of the unknown, risk and uncertainty are central to forecasting and prediction. Statistical forecasting is the process of estimation in unknown situations. It can refer to estimation of time series, cross-sectional or longitudinal data.

Prediction is a similar, but more general term. Both can refer to estimation of time series, cross-sectional or longitudinal data. Econometric forecasting methods use the assumption that it is possible to identify the underlying factors that might influence the variable that is being forecast. If the causes are understood, projections of the influencing variables can be made and used in the forecast. Judgmental forecasting methods incorporate intuitive judgments, opinions and probability estimates, as in the case of the Delphi method, scenario building, and simulations. Forecasting is applied in many areas, including weather forecasting, earthquake prediction, transport planning, and labour market planning.

Despite the development of cognitive instruments for the comprehension of future, the stochastic nature of many natural and social processes has made precise forecasting of the future elusive. Modern efforts such as future studies attempt to predict social trends, while more ancient practices, such as weather forecasting, have benefited from scientific and causal modelling.
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