Humans have always used some form of science, data gathering and technology to predict future events. Ancient monuments around the world may be all that is left of some civilizations, but they tell us that those who built them were sophisticated enough to understand many of the foundations of astronomy and track and predict the changing seasons of the year. Today, science and technology can help forecast everything from weather to consumer behavior and more. From the simplest tools that make budget calculations easier to complex analyses carried out by artificial intelligence, technology is helping to produce more granular and accurate predictions than ever before.
Calculating Personal Budgets
How much money do you have to put away in a retirement account from each paycheck to retire at a certain age with a certain income? What do you need to pay on your credit card to make sure you are debt-free within five years? How much can you save by refinancing your student loans? A couple of decades ago, unless you were savvy about math and finance, you might not be able to immediately come up with the answers to these questions. Fortunately, if you’ve got a phone and a data connection, it’s now as easy as typing a few key phrases into a search bar. It may not be exactly the same as forecasting the future, but if you want some insight into what your savings could look like if you’re approved for a student loan refinance, there are calculators online that can tell you. Mapping out your financial future becomes much easier with these tools at your fingertips.
Determining Market Trends
While budgeting calculators are among the simplest, most straightforward examples of providing data to a computer and having it return a prediction, there is advanced AI that can do something similar on much larger scale for investors, entrepreneurs, retailers, manufacturers and others who benefit by spotting trends early. In the past, this work could only be done by trend forecasters, and it involved analyzing an enormous volume of data in order to determine what cultural trends, technology and fashion will be big in the months ahead. Today, AI can compile an enormous amount of data in a fraction of the time, looking at everything from global economic trends to chatter on social media and more. As a result, human forecasters have access to far more information than they could ever process on their own and can work with AI engines to make their predictions.
Predicting Medical Problems
The predictive powers of AI are not limited to economic forecasts. AI can also be used to analyze patient data and predict the likelihood of developing certain conditions or diseases. For example, while physicians and medical researchers have not had success in identifying which otherwise healthy individuals might develop diabetes, machine learning may be able to after being fed extensive data about tests as well as patient questionnaires. AI can also look at data to make a forecast such as when a particular hospital’s emergency room might see a surge in flu cases.