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August 2, 2007

The other day, I was reading the interview with author Sandra McDonald over at ficlets, and she mentioned an article, The Social Life of Paper.  So I Googled it.  Interesting paper, you should read it, but thats not what I’m writing about here.  If you follow the link, you might notice that the sidebar has a link to this article, titled The Formula, with the subtext: What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?  I haven’t read the article yet, but the subtext is what fascinated me.

I would bet the author was talking about scientifically analyzing movies and creating a formula for predicting popularity.  I, naturally, thought of actual prediction (think precogs, like in The Minority Report).  This would be an amazing development, being able to predict the future, and one needn’t think to long to think of how it could change the world for the better (imagine being able to predict crop failures, for example).  Thats not how it would work, though.  Instead, companies would use this potentially revolutionary technology to predict whether Scream 13 will be a big hit.  After all, how much money are we throwing at hair loss and erectile dysfunction?

Just something to think about.

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