1. Apocalypse Now: Web Bot Project
If we were to tell you that some people that call themselves the Time Monks are predicting catastrophic future events through something called the Web Bot Project, would you tell us to step away from the TARDIS? The Time Monks, Clif High (a former Microsoft programmer) and George Ure (a former journalist), use what they call predictive linguistics to translate Internet behavior into predictions. The Web Bot’s biggest (and maybe last, if it’s right) prediction involves a “data gap” found between early 2012 through May 2013. On the paranormally-tinged radio show “Coast to Coast AM,” High said one explanation may be that “our civilization gets knocked back to a pre-electronic state.” While not as absolute as the Mayan calendar that abruptly ends on Dec. 21, 2012, the Web Bot forecasts a devastating pulsating solar energy wave. (Don’t tell Newt Gingrich.) It’s what convinced the Time Monks to abandon the original plan for the Web Bot Project—making money from stock market predictions—for its current, more oracular bent. “Once I started picking up more references to the sun, as in solar system, going strange as opposed to SUN, as in Stanford University Network, I soon became more absorbed in the sun going strange,” High said.
Gaming the System: Policon
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita takes game theory and turns it into Wheel of Fortune. Using a computer-based model he developed called Policon, he has predicted, among other major events, the Enron scandal, China’s reclaiming of Hong Kong, the succession of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran (as well as the country’s nuclear future), and the Good Friday Agreement between Britain and the IRA. Bueno de Mesquita, a political science professor at New York University and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, has been adjusting and perfecting his model for over a quarter of a century. He asks experts basic, non-predictive questions and feeds the data into a system that weighs the wants of each player and their level of motivation. Breaking down messy human behavior and fitting it into a strict mathematical equation may not sound like it will add up to success, but Bueno De Mesquita says in his book The Predictioneer’s Game that a study by the CIA found his predictions to be two times better than the agency’s. Given that the CIA is one of the rumored clients of Bueno de Mesquita’s firm Mesquita & Roundell, which advises the U.S. intelligence and policymaking committee as well as corporations, it’s a safe bet.
The Future is Written: Recorded Future
Google Instant seems so predictive that it’s not hard to imagine being able to set the search results time period for “Future.” Soon you may be able to. Google (and a little outfit called the CIA) have invested in “temporal analytics engine” Recorded Future. Recorded Future breaks search convention with three boxes: What, Who/Where and When. The “When” is where things get interesting. Instead of the usual search field date restriction of the present, it goes boldly into the future to scan everything from Twitter feeds to government documents to map patterns and forecast an outcome. As you may have already predicted, the future isn’t free—it starts at $149 a month.
Read the 6 others via: Searching for the Future – Apocalypse Now: Web Bot Project – Slideshow from PCMag.com
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