In the distant future, do you think you will be able to see gypsy women peer into a computer monitor instead of a crystal ball so that they can chart the future? That seems to be the direction where we’re heading, as it seems as though a supercomputer is capable of predicting the Arab Spring revolutions – according to sentiment mining that displayed a sharp change in tone around Egypt right before President Mubarak was unceremoniously ousted.

Of course, this would involving feeding a supercomputer with news stories that might eventually help the supercomputer predict major world events – at least that is what US researchers have stumbled upon in a study that involved millions of articles, resulting in a prediction that national sentiment will deteriorate prior to the recent revolutions that we read about concerning Libya and Egypt.

There will be doubters here where some of us might say that this is due to hindsight since the analysis was carried out retrospectively, but assuming you feed the supercomputer with such articles, perhaps the same process might help the machine predict another conflict in the future? It is also said that the system managed to figure out some clues concerning Osama Bin Laden’s location.

I would not put too much weight on what the supercomputer can achieve in this manner, and it is a long shot to rely on the machine to be a modern day Nostradamus. In fact, a lot of it depends on the kind of articles that we read (and others write), so if someone does not want to get caught by a machine, then laying low seems to be the key.

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