Ever wish you could see the future? Humans have long sought powers of foresight to help them make better decisions for the future. With the relatively recent development of predictive analytics, Big Think expert Eric Siegel explains that we're as close as we're ever going to get to predicting human behavior. It's not Gray's Sports Almanac, but predictive analytics allow for a keen assessment of the probability that any one person will buy, sell, click, lie, die, etc. Harnessing the power of prescient metrics is paramount when running an efficient company in the age of exponential technologies and entrepreneurship. The reason for this is that predictive analytics don't just predict the future; they can influence it as well. Siegel discusses how in the following Big Think Edge lesson excerpt:

The influential power of predictive analytics stems from their ability to make per-person predictions. Such intricate detail allows marketers a new level of efficiency. It tells them which names to remove from mailing lists thus improving response rate and lowering the bottom line. Predictive analytics are useful for other endeavors, such as political campaigns. Rather than wasting a week knocking on every door in town, you can more efficiently spend a few days targeting homes in which a higher probability of voters reside. You can focus on those more receptive to your message while abandoning fruitless efforts before actually having to invest valuable time and energy.

"These armies of resources — financial resources, human resources become multiple times stronger and this does, one way or another, translate directly into a dramatic bottom line improvement for companies and other organizations."

For more from Eric Siegel on the opportunities and perils of predictive analytics, be sure to check out Big Think Edge.

Eric Siegel, Ph.D. is author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die