Remember Hari Seldon, the mathematical professor of Trantor in the Asimov’s Foundation? He invented psychohistory, a way to analyze the past to predict the future. His claim was that having enough information about the past it is possible to predict the future.
Nice reading but … not for the real world. Well, now a start up company, Recorded Future https://www.recordedfuture.com/ , is promising to do exactly that: by harvesting information on the past contained on the Web they have created an engine that can make predictions about the future.
The start up has received funds from both Google and the CIA! Whilst Google use links to rank pages RecordedFuture goes inside the document to analyse products, technologies, people and places and establishes links among them. The output of search on RecordedFuture for something like “Flash Memory” is a timeline for the future of Flash Memories, their expected capacity in the coming years, the players that will be playing the game in the coming years and so on.
So far the company is targeting a restricted number of customers (companies) but it has created an open architecture that allows third parties to write applications for the consumer market. Ever wondered before buying a new television if it wouldn’t make sense to wait a month for the (possible) release of a new model? We will be able to find an answer on RecordedFuture.
This is another sign of the importance of data and this importance keeps growing. More than that, the open access to data is creating business opportunity, particularly for new companies.