Psychic Software: Yeah, We Know

June 23, 2018

Coming soon to a search system near you? Science Alert declares, “Scientists Have Invented a Software That Can ‘See’ Several Minutes Into the Future.”

Writer Mike McRae reports on the predictive-analysis progress of researchers at Germany’s University of Bonn. The goal—to predict a sequence of activities five minutes into the future. McRae explains their two approaches:

“The team tested two approaches using different types of artificial neural network: one that anticipated future actions and reflected before anticipating again, and another that built a matrix in one hit before crunching the probabilities. As you’d expect, the deeper they looked into the future, the more mistakes they made. ‘Accuracy was over 40 percent for short forecasting periods, but then declined the more the algorithm needed to look into the future,’ says Gall. The reflective approach did a little better than the matrix method when looking at the next 20 seconds, but the two different neural networks were equally matched when looking beyond 40 seconds. At the extreme end, the scientists discovered their trained program could correctly predict an action and its duration 3 minutes in the future roughly 15 percent of the time. That might not sound impressive, but it does establish solid ground for future artificial intelligence that could potentially develop super-human foresight.”

The researchers plan to present their results at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Salt Lake City, which McRae hopes will generate more interest in predictive software. Though we already have cautionary tales about the limits of this technology, there remain many positive possibilities, he notes.

We wonder when Recorded Future will adopt this approach.

Cynthia Murrell, June 23, 2018

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