Algorithm ‘predicts’ future!

Humans have always been fascinated by the idea of being able to see into the future and predict what will happen. Some researchers say it is possible to predict where your next travel destination will be, based on data taken from photographs on your mobile phone, with a high degree of accuracy!

A team at University College London gathered GPS and timestamp data from 8 million Flickr images from 16,000 users in the UK and used an algorithm to analyse every single photo. Then they used this data to attempt to foresee where the users might travel to next, comparing their findings with National Travel Survey (NTS) data.

The study, published in Royal Society Open Science, revealed that in 93 per cent of cases their predictions matched the NTS trends. The team reached the conclusion that the algorithm permitted them to:   

“..infer general patterns of human mobility in the UK, essentially learning maps and travel flows from data alone. Although the evaluation of our method is sometimes difficult due to the lack of extensive official surveys on mobility at the country level, our findings appear to be in general agreement with the evidence available, providing a novel statistical tool for the analysis of online data sources, and adding to the evidence that online data can be used to quantify human travel”

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