Peter Turchin is a Professor of Mathematics, and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. For the last nine years, he's been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator–prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and using them to model human history -- a pattern identification process he calls Cliodynamics. The goal of cliodynamics (or cliometrics) is to turn history into a predictive, analytic science. By analysing some of the broad social forces that shape transformative events in US society: historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence, he has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way, and should peak around 2020. [more inside]
Google's Crystal Ball::NYTimes. Quite interesting...Via TechDirt:
Google has created a predictive market system, basically a way for its employees to bet on the likelihood of possible events. Such markets have long been used to predict world events, like election results. Intrade, part of the Trade Exchange Network, allows people to bet on elections, stock market indexes and even the weather, for example.I wonder how accurate the aggregated content of blogs would be to measure the likelihood of prospective real world events? The economist they consulted, Hal R. Varian, has some interesting links on his web page as well. I think that the internet better get their anti-spam technology up to par before we have people "gaming" the future through blogspam. For an explanation of Futures Markets (charts), see this page at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.