3D Printing Will Explode in 2014 When Key Patents Expire

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Date of prediction: 2013-07-22

A short-term prediction regarding the 3D printer market:

»These patents cover a technology known as “laser sintering,” the lowest-cost 3D printing technology. Because of its high resolution in all three dimensions, laser sintering can produce goods that can be sold as finished products.
Once the key patents on 3D printing via laser sintering expire, we could see huge drop in the price of these devices, says Scott. This isn’t just idle speculation; when the key patents expired on a more primitive form of 3D printing, known as fused deposition modeling, the result was an explosion of open-source FDM printers that eventually led to iconic home and hobbyist 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot.«

(Mashable: 3D Printing Will Explode in 2014 When Key Patents Expire)

2015 Oscars

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Ben Zauzmer has developed a model from lots of data and applies it to make predictions about this year’s Oscars. Because he makes probabilistic predictions, no single outcome can prove him wrong.

Meta: Do experts make better forecasts?

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Apparently they don’t:

»The performance of experts has been tested against actuarial tables to determine if they are better at making predictions than simple statistical models. Seventy years later, with more than two hundred experiments in different domains, it is clear that the answer is no.16 If supplied with an equal amount of data about a particular case, an actuarial table is as good, or better, than an expert at making calls about the future. Even if an expert is given more specific case information than is available to the statistical model, the expert does not tend to outperform the actuarial table.«

(Integrating Methodologists into Teams of Substantive Experts, via http://scottberkun.com/2015/paradox-of-expertise/)

Security Trend Analysis with CVE Topic Models

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Date of forecast: November, 2010 (based on CVE data until end of 2009)

Stephan Neuhaus of Universit`a degli Studi di Trento and Thomas Zimmermann of Microsoft Research used the Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) database to predict security trends:

PHP: declining, with occasional SQL injection.

Buffer Overflows: flattening out after decline.

Format Strings: in steep decline.

SQL Injection and XSS: remaining strong, and rising.

Cross-Site Request Forgery: a sleeping giant perhaps, stirring.

Application Servers: rising steeply.

(Security Trend Analysis with CVE Topic Models, ISSRE 2010)


Apple’s wearable arrives in October

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Date of prediction: 2014-06-06

Re/code and Nikkei predict that Apple will launch its iWatch, or some other iWearable, in October. (via heise online)

Bitcoin cryptocurrency wasn’t

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Date of prediction: 2011-05-17

Remember the Bitcoin craze of 2011? Some believed that cryptography and peer-to-peer networking could create not only a metaphor of currency, but an actual currency. Others cautioned us, answering the question whether Bitcoin was a good idea:

»No. Bitcoin is a ludicrously bad idea. It is a scam. A Scam. It is not a currency. The economic assumptions underpinning the Bitcoin ecosystem are laughable, and ignore hundreds of years of accumulated understanding of how currencies work with each other.Fortunately, it’s such an obviously flawed system that it will probably never grow to a point where it causes any ill-effects,or even impact, to world economies.«

(Adam Cohen: Bitcoin: Is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin a good idea?)

I predict that Bitcoin will never become an important means of exchanging value on the Internet for a very simple reason. We’ve seen numerous attempts to establish cryptographic payment systems since the 1990s. All of these eventually failed in the market. The winner is the good old credit card, reliable and easy to use. To establish an alternative you’ve got to be bettern than that for the average citizen.

How to see into the future

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FT magazine has an article on forcasting: How to see into the future by Tim Harford. The teaser:

»Billions of dollars are spent on experts who claim they can forecast what’s around the corner, in business, finance and economics. Most of them get it wrong. Now a groundbreaking study has unlocked the secret: it IS possible to predict the future – and a new breed of ‘superforecasters’ knows how to do it«

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