Throughout human history, we have been terrified of what the future might hold and have devised all kinds of ways of trying to divine it. But today, with the promulgation of the scientific method, we have far more reliable ways of trying to define it.
Or do we?
In a fascinating opening keynote of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, Tricia Wang addresses this very question in a talk entitled "The Conceit of Oracles." She described how, in ancient Greece, the Pythia oracle would inhale gas fumes rising from a natural fissure and, over the course of a few days, reveal prophecies that would guide the actions of kings. As random as that may seem, however, there was in fact a method in how those messages were interpreted.