Telling Your Future

220px-CarnacOK, this guy sounds crazy or a scammer, but reading the article I realized a Future Telling machine is probably possible. If a computer has enough information about your past behavior (and one will, given the increasingly larger percentage of our lives we live on line) it will probably be able to predict your future behavior with some accuracy.

Shouldn’t be a surprise – this is the essence of what marketers do, for instance. However, marketers typically strive for pinpoint changes–getting you to buy product X–whereas the Future Telling machine will be able to sort through huge amounts of data to give you holistic predictions about your overall life’s path.

It’s also what we all do as a matter of daily life, and what professionals in various fields do. Plumbers try to predict when pipes burst, doctors try to predict our health, and psychologist Dr. John Gottman claims to be able to predict to a high degree of accuracy whether a couple will divorce, based on the frequency and style of their disputes.

Can you imagine the amount and range of data Match.com and the other dating sites are keeping? And what they’re learning through comparisons, correlations, cross tabbing, etc.? They will probably eventually get to the level where they’re storing our personalities. And not just for us individually, but across families and other groups, and through generations.

Freaky. I crave knowing the future, and dread knowing it, in about equal measures.

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