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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Oracle

What's going to happen when Big Data analysis can predict the future? What are the advantages of knowing the future? Perhaps the biggest advantage - other than being able to prepare for natural and man-made disasters - would be the ability to make money in the stock market. Average middle-class workers will be able to invest in the stock market with little or no risk if Big Data can tell them which stocks will rise and which will fall. Will everyone get rich? Will this level the playing field in the financial world and lead to an economic equilibrium?

This will partly depend on how specifically the future can be predicted. I think, at first, the predictions will be relatively general, but as we gather more and more data and develop more and more sophisticated ways of analyzing it, our predictions will get more and more specific; especially once that analysis is done by a quantum computer. It won't be long before this oracle will have to factor ITSELF into its predictions and a kind of singularity will be reached. Who knows what will happen then?

On the other hand, if computers get really good at predicting the future, it will mean fewer surprises. Not NO surprises; but fewer. That can be good if the predictions are bad, but many will miss the spontaneity life will have lost. Part of what makes life so much fun is its ability to surprise us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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