Who will win the next World Cup? When will the next financial crisis happen? Where will the next revolution take place? Scientists want to use data analysis to predict the future more easily.
Computer experts say it’s becoming increasingly more possible for them to calculate events. Even today, Google can predict the peak of a flu epidemic by analyzing search requests in combination with weather data. Amazon gets products ready for delivery before they’ve even been ordered. And predictive police work means officers can patrol areas where they expect crimes to occur. Nearly all data is recorded and stored.
We’re constantly producing data about ourselves through our smartphones
Google has saved all its search requests since the company was founded in 1998. The algorithms and analysis methods used there in California are considered the best in the world.
Sensors and cameras in mobile phones, cars and computers detect where we are and what we’re doing. There are scientists who analyze this mass of data with the sole purpose of predicting the future from the past; they call their field of work Predictive Analytics. There are now programs which predict how we are likely to behave and what preferences we have. This information is extremely valuable to a lot of people, because the more precise the algorithms are, the easier it becomes to maximize profits, minimize risks and predict conflicts.
The Power of Algorithms: Blessing or Curse?
How will life proceed in a world where algorithms assess how well a child will do in school? How suitable they are for a particular job? Or how likely they are to become a criminal? This documentary investigates whether the dream of a fully predictable future with no catastrophes, wars or epidemics could easily become a nightmarish, all-knowing Big Brother state.
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