You CAN Predict the Future, and Influence It Too

Predictive analytics enables governments and companies to not only predict the future, but also to influence the future.

We are better than ever at making predictions - whether you’re going to click, lie, buy or die, as Eric Siegel puts it.


In a lesson on Big Think Edge, the only forum on YouTube designed to help you get the skills you need to be successful in a rapidly changing world, Siegel, a former professor at Columbia University, shows how predictive analytics is "powered by the world's most potent, booming unnatural resource: data."

You have been predicted — by companies, governments, law enforcement, hospitals, and universities. Their computers say, "I knew you were going to do that!" 

Netflix and Pandora predict the movies and music you will like. Online dating sites select possible matches for you based on your interests. Companies can predict whether you’re going to default on your credit card statements and whether you’re going to commit an act of fraud.

So what do governments and companies do with this gold mine? In the video below, Siegel tells Big Think that these entities not only have the power to predict the future "but also to influence the future."  And so can you. 

Sign up for a free trial subscription on Big Think Edge and watch Siegel's lesson here:

Reflection Questions 
-- Describe how your company is using predictive analytics to influence any operational decisions? Do you analyze who is likely to respond before initiating a marketing campaign? If not, how could this help streamline operations in your department? 

-- How are predictive analytics at work in your life? Do you use Netflix or Pandora to predict movies or music you will like? Have you used an online dating site that selects possible matches for you based on your interests? How has this worked out for you?

-- Is the use of predictive analysis exposing people to other people, entertainment, or services that more accurately match their interests or is it pigeonholing people by suggesting things they may like based only on a limited amount of information on previous decisions they've made?
For expert video content to inspire, engage and motivate your employees, visit Big Think Edge

Watch the video below and sign up for your free trial to Big Think Edge today. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less

New vaccine (for cats) nixes allergic reactions for humans

You want one. Now you may be able to survive one.


Photo credit: Jie Zhao
/ Getty contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • Cats live in a quarter of Western households.
  • Allergies to them are common and can be dangerous.
  • A new approach targets the primary trouble-causing allergen.
Keep reading Show less