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Google Invests in app that will predict the future


Every year we hear of at least one company that claims to be able to predict the future, yet none have proven to be more accurate than backstreet Tarot reading. We start automatically assigning gimmick value to any person or company making such claims.

However, when Google chooses to rest one of its prized laurel wreaths on a company, people sit up and pay attention. Earlier this week, Google did just this, investing an undisclosed sum in technology company Recorded Future via its investment arm Google Ventures. Sounds very much like a Google-esque April Fool’s joke, doesn’t it? But it’s for real.

Being a big name and influencer in the tech sector, Google’s move has generated a buzz across the mainstream media: can this be the killer App everybody has been waiting for?

Based on three search criteria – what, who/where, and when – Recorded Future claims to be able to predict future events in financial markets, geopolitical news, industry analysis, public figures, technology, information security, even yourself and your company.

Its core technology is based on analysing trends of past events, and as Google happens to be the largest data crawler on earth, the alliance will most likely create synergy beyond just venture return.

If prediction is accurate, this can easily become a billion-dollar business to support financial and political decision-making.

But even with the Google-load of data, can the past really predict the future? We have seen high-impact Black Swan Events (like the 9/11 attacks) that were as unpredictable as they were critical to informed decision-making in the modern world. It’s unclear at this stage how Recorded Future’s forecast model calculates these exogenous events.

Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the technology in action, predicting future investments in India:

Although, when we tried to use the free account on Recorded Future’s website, we were disappointed to be offered only the email alerts. The price tag to play with its real technology as seen in the above video is US$149/month.

So until we know more about Recorded Future in the future, for now, we recommend having a look of the company’s YouTube profile to get a sense of what it can and cannot do.

Image by: House of Sims