Many studies in psychology and behavioral economics have shown that human beings tend to be risk averse (see for instance Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Rabin, 2003; Simonsohn, 2009). At the same time, a certain amount of risk is inevitable – even necessary – when making an investment. A constant quest for prediction and predictability emerges from this apparent oxymoron, from Stonehenge’s druids using “rock alignments to predict coming changes in the seasons” (Bauer, 2014, p. 15) to ancient Rome’s haruspices practicing divination through the inspection of the entrails of animals. The I Ching or the Book of Change , one of the most influential and ancient books in Chinese literature, was used as a decision-making tool for kings over “questions . . . [which] often concerned the Great Affairs of State” (Minford, 2014, p. 9), and its influence stretches to today’s business world. As one prominent commentator wrote, the book can still be used as a tool for today’s leaders: “like a wanderer, an international business executive is exposed to uncertainties and danger when he is on the road as the environment of the host country is different from that of his home country” (Mun, 2007, p. 366). Apollo’s oracle at Delphi was for centuries

a central institution in Greece with the Pythia, the god’s priestess, functioning as a ‘professional’ consultant offering advice to supplicants who traveled long distances to obtain her insights into the future. It is interesting to notice that the Pythia provided specific political recommendations – for instance, advising Athens on where to establish new colonies and on the appointment of religious officials, not to mention the role played by the Oracle in the start of the Peloponnesian War (Scott, 2014). In sum, endeavors at developing techniques for forecasting the impact of future events before starting a new venture have a long and cross-cultural history. The universal aspiration of human beings to know in advance the future developments of history is also a recurrent theme in literature, from Oedipus’ self-fulfilling prophecy to Hari Seldon, depicted by Isaac Asimov (2010) in his Foundation trilogy as the founder of ‘psychohistory’, a discipline combining social sciences and mathematics which enables scientists to make broad predictions about large-scale sociopolitical events.