Technology should give us super powers. Still waiting for flight and not holding my breath for invisibility but predicting the future is getting better all the time.
Big Data isn’t about “big” data. Its orders of magnitude lower than what the Large Hadron Collider spits out in a day. But the combination of the right nuggets of information can yield some big predictions.
What I find most interesting is the huge breath of variables tracked and used to make predictions. More obvious ones include the weather impacting public mood and buying decisions but things like results of football matches can have an impact.
If Liverpool have a big win against Manchester United there’ll be lots of gamblers in Liverpool with some extra money. Target your advertising that way? Likewise if United win there’ll be windfalls in London. What if Everton win, Microsoft’s stock drops, it rains in Kent and there’s a wedding on East Enders?
Monitoring and weighing up all these small impacts and working out which ones are relevant to making an accurate prediction about the future is currently beyond me, but you may have heard of the US clothing company Target being able to predict a teenager is pregnant before she has time to tell her parents.
This is an exciting but terrifying area and one I’ll be following closely.