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“Predictive analytics”: technologies that read your mind

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There’s an app that can practically read your mind via your mobile device. The technology is called predictive analysis, and Google’s Now app is at the forefront. Other apps that utilize predictive analysis include Grokr and Osito: predicting the smartphone user’s next move.

How does this work?

Snippets of information are assembled via an algorithm, leading to a prediction of the user’s next behavior.

An example would be combining snippets of calendar entries with the user’s location data, e-mail information, social network postings and other like information.

The user is then presented with assistance that the app “thinks” is needed. The support-information is called a card. A card might, for example, remind the user about an event whose information was entered previously.

The app will then add directions to the event or show weather conditions at the location—even advise raingear.

Benefits

  • The Now app can “understand” context and filter out irrelevant information, making searchers easier than ever.
  • The Google search engine can now respond to more than just individual keywords and can seemingly grasp the meaning of a search query. This algorithm is called Hummingbird and impacts 90 percent of searches.

An example is that Google can compare items upon request or dig up facts about various things. For example, just type in the name of a famous landmark—once. If you seek trivia, you’ll get answers, but if you then seek directions, Google will know that you want directions to this landmark without you having to type in its name again.

  • Future locations of the user can be predicted (based on locations visited previously), not just the current location.
  • Recently, Google and Microsoft researchers came up with a software, Far Out, that can figure out a user’s routine via GPS tracking. This data is then assembled so that future locations of that user can be predicted.
  • The configuring can even adjust to correlate with the user’s changes in residence or workplace.

As advanced as all of this seems, this is only the start of a new wave of technology that can “think” for us—a big benefit to those whose lives are so hectic that they’ve become absent minded, and for those who simply enjoy the idea of having to do less mental work.

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

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