[DE, META] Propheten und Moneten – Wie wir mit Statistiken manipuliert werden

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A Pessimist’s Guide to the World in 2016

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Date of prediction: 2015-12-15

Bloomberg had several pessimist scenarios for 2016:

»Oil prices soar after Islamic State destroys facilities across the Middle East. Angela Merkel is forced to resign, throwing the European Union into disarray. The dollar slumps as Russian and Iranian hackers team up to launch cyber-attacks on U.S banks.«

(Bloomberg News: A Pessimist’s Guide to the World in 2016)

The wise man does not predict, he discusses scenarios. A scenario cannot be wrong, even if it is.

Trump will win

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Date of prediction: 2016-10-19

Presidential prognosticator, Don Khoury, used an algorithm to analyze the body language of the U.S. presidential candidates during the three TV debates and predict who will win the election. His prediction according to Wicked Local:

“The eventual winner, according to Khoury, is Trump. Based on his algorithm, which measures a candidates’ body language, Trump swept all three presidential debates.

Khoury scored the final debate a 144-21 landslide in favor on Trump.”

Like all probabilistic prediction, however, this statement is irrefutable unless the election turns out really surprising, e.g., with a third candidate winning.

1981’s pretty accurate prediction of today’s cybercrime

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Year of prediction: 1981

Follow this link to see how cybercrime was envisaged in 1981: Computer Criminals in the World of Tomorrow (1981)

This prediction-having-become-true seems to be part of a whole series from the very early 1980s, looking ahead just 20 years and thus into a future that has already become our past itself.

Solar Eclipse Wreaking Havoc

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Date of prediction: 2016-03-08

A solar eclipse can be observed on 9 March, 2016 in the Pacific. One astrologer believes that a serious weather event or a prominent assassination could occur in conjunction with the eclipse.

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)


Google predicts the winners of the quarterfinals

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Date of prediction: 2014-07-02

Using big data technologies, Google predicts who might win the quarterfinals of the football world cup:

  • Brazil vs. Colombia: Brazil (71%)
  • France vs. Germany: France (69%)
  • Netherlands vs. Costa Rica: Netherlands (68%)
  • Argentina vs. Belgium: Argentina (81%)

Now what would it take to refute their predictions?

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