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BBC Future

60 Second Idea

App could ‘predict the future’

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.

This week Israeli digital visionary Eyal Gever describes a machine that would give everyone a ‘crystal ball’.

“My idea to change the world is a crystal ball app - a machine that would help us predict the future.

If you dropped all of the world's data into a black box, it could become a crystal ball that would let you see the future. When knowledge becomes a network, all is possible.

Imagine what happens to knowledge when very smart algorithms that grasp humanity analyze that content and visualize the data.

You could explore the past, present and prospective future of almost anything in a matter of seconds.

Having a super tool that can help us understand relationships between entities and events over time, that can foresee what may happen in the future and advise us on taking the best decision  - even test what would happen if you chose option A over option B.

As Macbeth asked the witches - If you can look into the seeds of time and say, which grain will grow, and which will not, speak then to me.”

You can listen to Eyal discuss his idea with American professor of mathematics Robert Kaplan and British ceramicist Edmund de Waal in more detail on the BBC World Service programme The Forum, where you can also download more 60-second ideas.

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