Predicting the future using bits, bytes and people
What will happen in the future? This question might have been asked more in this world than ‘Will you marry me?’. Microsoft tries to answer this question by launching the Microsoft Prediction Lab. The lab is an interactive platform that is partially built around the basis of a game. Users can invest points by predicting the outcome of certain future events. If a prediction is correct, the user gains points and if the prediction is wrong it looses the points. Not only is the prediction lab a game, it is also a … lab. David Rothschild, an expert in data driven predictive methodology and researcher for Microsoft, sees the lab as a great laboratory for researchers and a new social experience. The team behind the lab tries to figure out what is the best way of predicting the future, using more than the typical dataset.
Why is this development intriguing? First of all, this platform shows that the wisdom of crowds can be used for making accurate predictions. The users fill in their predictions based on personal expectations as well as predictions made by the crowd. Secondly, this digital platform uses positive network effects for its own benefits. Last but not least, IT is used to predict the future. What is not to like about that?
Microsoft’s Prediction Lab is on the right track, if you consider the fact that it gave an 84% change of a ‘No-vote’ for the Scottish independence, and predicted 15 out of the 15 knock-out games on the FIFA World Cup correctly. For now it will focus on political events (such as elections) and sport, but the tech-giant plans to use the prediction technology for far more than that. Where do you think this technology will lead to? I would love to hear your thoughts!