Can The New York Times Predict The Future? Scientists Are Counting On It

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Though the exact future of The Times (and media itself) is debateable….Doree Shafrir at BuzzFeed discussed an interesting (and rather sad) sign of the times–the recent round of layoffs (and buyouts) of 100 NYT staffers barely caused a ripple in media news. It seems we now accept the inevitable–the contracting of an industry which needs to reinvent itself in the digital age. Our interest in headlines has shifted–and probably for the industry’s benefit. What we really want to read about is innovation, news about someone with ideas–news that will lead to new jobs. Can NYC become the next Tech Capital?

On a brighter note, the Grey Lady could actually assist in the prediction of our future. Seriously. Scientists have created software that will analyze 22 years of the paper’s archives (along with additional web resources) to predict (and hopefully) prevent outbreaks of disease, riots, and even events in the financial services. And the idea has company. A number of initiatives are using available web data to help predict events of all kinds–by looking for predictive signals. You may have heard researches are already using data via twitter and google to track flu outbreaks, and  are discovering additional beneficial applications from mining data of the past (and current) events.  You can read more about the researchers and scientists involved here. It is truly fascinating.

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