A dear friend of mine sent an article this weekend that began “Flash! Califortnia Earthquake.”
When I clicked the link *(this is a person I can trust with my life, so the click was safe) up pops a site that talks in generalities about an upcoming Cali quake and then wraps it up in Biblical “stuff.”
That got me to thinking about how anyone can get into the prediction business. You see, this is a world of segmentation and monetization.
Here’s part of what I sent my pal:
“With all due respect, this smacks of another charlatan.
Here’s my take on this “prediction.”
1. See the story in the L.A. Times on Sept 19 here: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-mexico-earthquake-20170908-htmlstory.html
2. Now, notice the date on the “prophet’s” prediction – which by the site time made on Sept 29.
I would suggest that THE REAL END TIMES data from all this is the prediction that when the real End gets here, the world will be full of prevaricators and deceivers. Sure enough, it seems to be.
I applied rigorous statistics (and a very broad news-eating software program (Nostracodeus) that I helped write the algos for) and lot and behold, turns out most of the “seers” are just clever wordsmiths with a neat monetization plan.
You see, old friend, as I have done in my new non-fiction book, there is a time for rigor – and we live in such times.
Count the number of predictions a person makes and write that down.
On another piece of paper make random predictions about events.
We also need to be highly precise in time frames. As I explained to someone else, recently: If you predict a “major earthquake” and give yourself 2-weeks of “play” either side of a month-long window, you’re now up to 8.2 week’s worth of window. With 5 to 10 quakes 7.0 or larger per year anyway – without the “predictors” when with only 6.3 period per year to worry about, in a “quiet year” with 6 quake your odds of being “right” are in the vicinity of >50%.
Since we both have masters degrees and know stats, it’s really clear how this can give the illusion of prediction. Which is why our emphasis is on predicting stock market trends at the macro level.
As you know, there is a lot of rigor to our approach. While the general public is (far too) easily BS’ed, The Bank is less so and rigorous to the penny.
This is not to say this person is NOT a prophet of God. Far from it. But, when their prediction comes out a week after a writ-large in the L.A. Times, you know….it sets of statistically-based skepticism.
We improve on this considerably by reading news with an eye towards future indicators words. Example words are things like “will” “planning” “may” “Respond” “forecast” and “warn” are just a few.
Each of these has an implied future action associated with it.
Now, once you have this, you simply run Nostracodeus against a custom-built website that includes massive RSS (real simple syndication) scans and is constantly updated (my website at www.computationalfuture.com does this) and then follow those stories/headlines for a few weeks which have future-implicates within them. This gives us a “clean site” with no ad content on which makes testing Nosty very clean.
I appreciate the note, not wanting us to be taken by surprise, but the grumpy old George worries that people outside of SoCal who don’t machine-read the L.A. times daily and look at the word frequencies for “quake, shake, temblor, shift, ground, etc.) will think this an original prediction. It is, if you don’t read the LAT.”
I could have gone into a lot more depth. For example, the article quotes a late “prophet” who said a major quake was coming to the US “soon” and this was in 2013. – that’s when the embedded video was posted to YT.
Again, we come back to the techniques of “future tellers” which in today’s media world are the knock-on viral version of “fortune tellers.”
Similarly, the story quotes what sounds like an Indian “prophet” who went on a several-days long warning spree in 2015.
Don’t get me wrong: People like to know the future. And around here we work very, very hard at it using software methods enhancing on approaches marked “unclassified” at the top. We just don’t go out on limbs making fools of ourselves; at least very often.
There is a consumer protection angle to this: Sure, we all want to know the future but it does, in fact, change directions on an almost daily basis because of systemic complexity. Sadly, a “systemic change” can be sold to the gullible as something other than a “failed prediction.”
So, when you read a prediction, do yourself a HUGE favot.
- Find the last 100 predictions the source has made, including the failures. See if they are meaningfully different than chance.
- Be very wary of generalizations that are not considerably better than chance. See the Earthquake notion. Seriously: We could have an 8.2 quake in the South Pacific and I’m sure some deceiver would ascribe it as “That quake that was going to destroy California but which moved to Vanuatu (or wherever) because of our work and your prayers….hallelujah!” And the money pours in.
- Look for the revenue angle. If the view of the future is not generating enough personal income/savings to personally enrich yourself, give it another look. I do this with Peoplenomics outlooks. We do get market trends above average and our readers do just fine.
- Be aware that people will tell you what you want to hear. If you are THINKING about Bitcoin, then some futuring site I’m sure will tell you it’s going to a zillion.
Could Bitcoin go higher? Sure: Might be in a trend channel like this:
But, until it sets a new high (above the $4,900 level) we would be skeptical because there is also a way to draw trend channels and do Elliott counts is that very, very bearish:
This view hold that until the old high is beaten, what has gone on has been the all-time high, an A down, B up, and we are biding our time with a cold branch water waiting for C down to show up.
This is not to make a prediction that this WILL happen. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that whatever happens with Bitcoins, it will happen without us participating.
At all times, history teaches us that people tend to believe in whatever will make them the most personal profit.
Doesn’t need to be objectively true. They just need to believe because they are weak, don’t have their own experience base, or someone has convinced that they are the dumbest personal in the room, not the smartest.
As luck would have it, when I’m in the room, you are the smarter of the two of us, plus of minus two standard deviations!
In other words, if people are adrenalin junkies and BTC’s offer a good “hit” – enjoy.
We take our pleasures a little differently now.
Off to size up markets and look for reality. Remember that stuff? The currency of banks, houses, cars, and food?
Write when you see the future better than chance…