Oracle

The Digital Human

By BBC Radio 4

Oracle

From the dawn of the civilisation, human beings have yearned to predict the future. In the past you might have consulted the Oracle at Delphi or sat down for a tarot reading to steer you through life. Today, the internet offers amazing potential for predictive technology. There isn't a part of the natural world or human existence that isn't recorded and quantified, even the most mundane aspects of our lives are broadcasted into the universe thanks to our prolific use of social media. By analysing the cornucopia of data we can detect patterns, understand behaviour... but can we really predict the future? Developers claim yes we can, from what movie will be a breakout hit, to when there will be a run on cold and flu medicine, even to the outcome of a child's' entire life - all we need is the right data. But do we want that? In today's Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores why it is we feel the need to predict the future to find out place in the present world, and discovers that prediction could end up being a cursed crystal ball if handled incorrectly.
Oracle
Oracle
The Digital Human