Diary

Sure, Computers Can Play Chess, but Can They Predict Revolutions?

“I THINK YOU OUGHT TO SIT DOWN CALMLY, TAKE A STRESS PILL,  AND THINK THINGS OVER” – HAL, in A Space Oddity

HAL, meet Nautilus. You might have been the top dog back in your day – what with your ability to play chess, kill astronauts, and so forth, but guess what? Nautilus can predict the future, dude. Hell yeah; Nautilus can predict revolutions. What’s that you say? There’s probably an iPhone app that could have predicted the uprisings in Egypt and Libya? I see your point; the writing was definitely on the wall. How about predicting a revolution in America, you ask? Great question; lets’s dig into it a bit and see what we can find out.

According to Kalev Leetaru of the University of Illinois, the Nautilus SGI supercomputer can analyze news stories to help predict major world events. Although the experiment was conducted after the fact, Nautilus read millions of articles from which it was able to determine deteriorating national sentiment towards the Egyptian and Libyan governments in those countries before their respective revolutions began. Nautilus was also able to determine Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts before he was found and killed.

The supercomputer analyzes information in two main categories: mood – whether an article represents good news or bad news, andlocation – where events happen, and the location of other participants in the story. An unexpected finding of the experiment was the computer’s ability to use news stories to map movement of a particular individual — in this case Osama bin Laden. Leetaru was able to place the al Qaeda leader within a 200-kilometer radius in Northern Pakistan, including Abbottabad where he was ultimately found and killed. The scientist is still puzzled as to why this unexpected result was so accurate.

The next step for Nautilus, according to Leetaru, is forecasting major world events — rather than analyzing them after the fact. It seems to me that the more accurate computers become in predicting world events – the more inaccurate the ultimate results will be; think of it this way: Let’s assume that Nautilus predicts that a roving band of (violent) Gypsies is going to show up in a specific Paris suburb and murder innocent Parisians. Knowing this in advance would allow Paris police to enter the neighborhood prior to the predicted act – and prevent it from occurring. Or, if a menacing pack of left-wing loons is predicted to crash a Tea Party rally and break some faces; foreknowledge of the planned event would allow the police and/or the Tea Party to alter their plans.

As for Nautilus’s ability to predict revolution in America – in theory, it should be able to do so, utilizing the same news analysis capability that it used relative to Egypt and Libya. However, if the majority of the news it reads is full of liberal lies and distortions, (as would be the case), your guess is as good as mine. Those sneaky liberals.

I wonder if Nautilus can predict where Barack, Mishy and the girls will live after they leave the White in January of 2013?