Microsoft Prediciton Lab Develops Forecast Technology Based Partially On User Input

As we slowly march towards a future where scenes from Minority Report and Transcendence feel more like reality and less like science fiction, Microsoft Research is unveiling a data-drive crystal ball of sorts. It's a project emerging from the Microsoft Prediction Lab, where laypeople are encouraged to make predictions about upcoming events. The company's calling it a game for now, but the implications are far greater. As of now, the interactive demo highlights the team's pursuit of forecasting technologies; namely, they're looking to intelligently collect data, keep billions of related likelihoods consistent, and convey complex quantitative information usefully.

The team points out that in election polls, votes are often "too close to call," suggesting that technology may have the answer. Or, at the very least, it may have the answer for making more accurate predictions about what side will come out on top. It's also practicing with data from sporting matches, with some of the progress being used to improve prediction methods for things like Cortana -- the digital aide within Windows Phone -- and Bing search.

The uses for the prediction technology are nearly limitless, but for now, it's mostly in good fun. We're sure it won't be long before someone in Las Vegas tries to get the upper hand using something similar, though.