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  • A soothsayer for the digital age

    USA Today - 11/18/2014

    Of course, prediction is a proven hazard. Just ask the weatherman, or seismologists or, for that matter, economic forecasters, whose reams of data and supercomputers don’t seem to help much. And then, data-based prediction has a serious limitations: It’s only as good as the data. “An algorithm will never be able to make predictions about what no one is reporting on, and there are flagrant gaps in news coverage,” says David Lazer, professor of political science and computer science at Northeastern University. Paradigm-changing events with no precedent — like the rise of the Islamic State or the spread of Ebola — are beyond the algorithm’s range, too. Professor Shaul Markovitch, Ph.D. supervisor at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, calls Radinsky’s work unique — and risky. “No one had even tried before her,” he says. “I would have discouraged her from going in that direction.”

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