To predict the future is one of the most sought after power by human beings. That’s why, occult sciences and astrology have developed since the inception of civilization. Now, science and technology has devised a way to predict your movements. A new algorithm developed by a team of British researcher’s can tell what place you will be in the next 24 hours.

The new algorithm can accurately predict where you will be in the next 24 hours. So far, the average error of its calculations has been just 20 meters, which is astonishingly small and negligible!

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The whole philosophy that lies behind tracking people’s future movements is simple. Normally, people tend to follow certain patterns in their daily lives. People may have coffee after they wake up each day, head for breakfast to a nearest bar and then make for the office. This forms a pattern of movement behavior. Based on this pattern, even some old algorithms could easily predict where you would go in the next few hours.

However, the older and traditional approach couldn’t account for the breaks in this regular routine that many of us take. Out of blue, some day we may want to do something different and that’s what the older algorithms couldn’t predict. But the extra-ordinary thing about this new algorithm is that it is able to solve this problem. It combines a user’s data with data from his friends and based on that, calculates whether the user will follow his normal routine and rather, say, go to movies with friends.

In this way, the algorithm is able to tackle the uncertainty in the calculations of normal routine. There are virtually infinite applications of such an algorithm. Some have speculated that it may be used to track crime and pre-empt it. However, that sounds quite impractical. Because for that, the police will need to know who the future criminal will be, to track his data and movements.

What is practical, though, is that a number of web-based services can greatly benefit from knowing where you are headed. For instance, if an application supplies you restaurant suggestions and knows that you are heading down town for the evening, it may send you a notification, right when you are heading to down town, of a new restaurant that has just opened there. Check-in websites can also make use of such data in a very useful manner.

Mirco Musolesi, Manlio Domenico and Antonio Lima are the researchers who have created this algorithm at the University of Birmingham. The algorithm is being hailed as a truly great break-through and the researchers have been awarded this year’s Nokia Mobile Data Challenge.

However, it also possess severe privacy risks. If used unduly, this algorithm can break into your life.

Courtesy: Slate