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Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die

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You have been predicted — by companies, governments, law-enforcement, hospitals and universities. Their computers say, "I knew you were going to do that!" These institutions are seizing upon the power to predict whether you're going to click, buy, lie, or die.

Why? For good reason: Predicting human behavior combats financial risk, fortifies healthcare, reduces spam, toughens crime-fighting and boosts sales.

How? Prediction is powered by the world's most potent, booming unnatural resource: data. Accumulated in large part as the by-product of routine tasks, data is the unsalted, flavorless residue deposited en masse as organizations churn away. Surprise! This heap of refuse is a gold mine. Big data embodies an extraordinary wealth of experience from which to learn.

Predictive analytics is the science that unleashes the power of data. With this technology, the computer literally learns from data how to predict the future behavior of individuals. Perfect prediction is not possible, but even lousy predictions can be extremely valuable.

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