Sure, Computers Are Psychic

June 12, 2019

Psychics, mentalism, divination, and other ways to communicate with the dead or see the future are not real. These so-called gifts are actually ancient arts in human behavior, psychology, and nature. With practice and skill anyone can learn how to manipulate and predict someone’s future movements, that is basically all algorithms are doing. According to Entrepreneur, humans are leaving bread crumb trails online that algorithms watch and then can predict an individual’s behavior: “How Algorithms Can Predict Our Intentions Faster Than We Can.”

While artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) are still developing technologies, their advancements are quickly made. Simply by tracking an individual’s Web activities, AI and NLP can learn behavior patterns and “predict” intentions, thoughts, and even our next move.

Social media is a big predictor of future events too. Take the 2016 election of Hilary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, then there is Brett Kavanaugh’s trials and his confirmation to the Supreme Court. When Paul Nemirovsky’s dMetrics analyzed unstructured social media data, they found that the data was skewed in favor of Kavanaugh’s assignment to the court. Later this came to pass as fact. On the positive side of things, this could mean better investment outcomes, improved marketing messaging, higher customer satisfaction, and deeper insights into anything we choose.

Algorithms are literally dumb pieces of code. They only do what they are programmed. In order for them to understand user data, algorithms need NLP:

“Natural Language Processing, or NLP, is a neuro-network that essentially teaches itself the way we say things. By being exposed to different conversational experiences, the machine learns. Simply put, once you tell the machine what each sentence means, it records each meaning in order to process it in the future. By processing this information, it learns the skills to better understand our intentions than we do.”

NLP is not magic and needs to be programmed like any piece of software. Predictive analytics are still and will be a work in progress for some time, because of costs, applications, and also ethical violations. Will predictive analytics powered by AI and NLP be used for evil? Er, yeah. They will also be used for good, like cars, guns, computers, and putting words in the mouths of people who never made a particular statement.

Whitney Grace, June 12, 2019


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