In futurists' parlance a 'probable' future scenario -- as opposed to a 'possible' or 'plausible' one -- is a scenario that is intuitively anticipated from current conditions. It is usually an extrapolation of trends currently in evidence, with maybe a few guesses about how conflicting trends may shake out.

Probable scenarios are least risky but have correspondigly less potential strategic value. A probable scenario is also sometimes called a baseline scenario or, more playfully, "The Official Future". The probable future is the safest bet. Except when it turns out to be wrong.

Prob"a*ble (?), a. [L. probabilis, fr. probare to try, approve, prove: cf. F. probable. See Prove, and cf. Provable.]

1.

Capable of being proved.

[Obs.]

2.

Having more evidence for than against; supported by evidence which inclines the mind to believe, but leaves some room for doubt; likely.

That is accounted probable which has better arguments producible for it than can be brought against it. South.

I do not say that the principles of religion are merely probable; I have before asserted them to be morally certain. Bp. Wilkins.

3.

Rendering probable; supporting, or giving ground for, belief, but not demonstrating; as, probable evidence; probable presumption.

Blackstone.

Probable cause Law, a reasonable ground of presumption that a charge is, or my be, well founded. -- Probable error (of an observation, or of the mean of a number), that within which, taken positively and negatively, there is an even chance that the real error shall lie. Thus, if 3&sec; is the probable error in a given case, the chances that the real error is greater than 3&sec; are equal to the chances that it is less. The probable error is computed from the observations made, and is used to express their degree of accuracy.<-- now, usually standard deviation is used --> -- The probable, that which is within the bounds of probability; that which is not unnatural or preternatural; -- opposed to the marvelous.

 

© Webster 1913.

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