Believe it or not, but Bill Gates didn't 'predict' that a ship would one day get stuck in the Suez Canal, causing a global good shipping traffic jam.
However for years numerous maritime analysts have been forecasting that the increasing size of container ships since 2008 would significantly increase the risk of disaster at global trade pressure points like the Suez Canal - only for these forecasts to be ignored.
Over the past decade, out of the sight of most consumers, the world’s container ships have been quietly ballooning in size. A class of vessels that carried a maximum of about 5,000 shipping containers in 2000 has doubled in capacity every few years since, with dozens of megaships now traversing the ocean laden with upwards of 20,000 boxes.
Container ships have become huge fast, especially over the past decade. Other than the result of technological advances, analysts say the trend is a hangover from the high oil prices of the 2000s – which led shipping outfits to seek to maximise economies of scale – and the low-interest rates that followed the 2009 financial crash, which allowed companies to borrow the vast sums required to build vessels as long as skyscrapers are high. - via
It's certainly not the first time that forecasts of impending disaster have been ignored.
The covid-19 pandemic was forecast for years by experts (other than Bill Gates) and ignored.
We ignore climate change scientists.
We ignore nuclear weapons experts that tell us that a disaster - thanks to these weapons falling into the wrong hands - is on the horizon.
We ignore academics that tell us that global income and wealth inequality will severely affect all of us - rich and poor - if it is not properly addressed.
We ignore people, who actually know something about money, who warn us that Bitcoin is not the future of money, because it is far too inefficient a means of transferring value for it to be universally useful as a currency.
People have a million complex reasons as to why evidence of a plausible future is invalid. It could be partly an issue of distrust, in some ways a denial that the 'good times' will ever end.
People choose to believe what they want to believe - even in the face of astounding evidence to the contrary; they will doggedly hold onto what they believe until such time as they choose to let that old belief go and adopt an alternative truth.
Which is exactly why it is so beneficial to practice having an open mind.
Yes even the World Economic Forum lists this as one of their much needed skills of the future; having a curious, open mind that can objectively view evidence and make a sound judgement based on sound logical and principles of science is an unbelievably useful thing to be able to do.
The end of megaships?
So is this then the end of the era of megaships?
Maybe not just yet - 'cause in some people's minds this incident in the Suez Canal may have just been a black swan that might not happen again anytime soon.