Activity Report

February 27, 2015 Predict your future: scary accurate results!

Have you ever come across these kinds of advertisements on the web or on your smartphone? They’re advertisements for fortune telling sites. It’s hard not to be slightly intrigued when it offers you “free future predictions” that are “so accurate it’s scary,” and it’s understandable to be tempted to go ahead and click the link and type in your name and date of birth.

Why do we all want to know the future so much? Say for instance that a fortuneteller tells you in detail how you’ll have a terrible end to your life, and say that it’s really true. Hearing the prediction would have you fretting about a future tragedy that you otherwise wouldn’t have had to think about until the time, and it seems that alone would be a big loss for you. Do we attempt to peer into the future just for the sake of satisfying some ghoulish curiosity?


Lady and the fortune teller
Lady and the fortune teller by rickz, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Well, we could say that future prediction actually has very high economic value. If we knew for sure which stocks were going to go up, anyone could become extremely wealthy in very little time, and of course in the market today, that’s also possible if we knew which stocks were going down. It’s not to the extent that we are all forming long lines at the fortune tellers, but knowing the future has real benefits and that’s why people throughout history have always been so interested in it. For example, what the most intelligent scientists (economists?) of our times are being paid huge sums of money to work on every day is basically to create a model to predict the future of the market as accurately as possible.

If there were a divine entity with perfect knowledge of all the truths of the world, the entity would also have the power to foresee the future. This is a belief that people have universally held throughout the ages. It is not an exaggeration to say that all forms of learning and scholarship were born from people’s burning desire to know the future, which is inseparable from the pursuit of truth. In various ancient societies ranging from Greece and China to the Mayans and Aztecs, kings and oracles all spoke to the divine in some way, and they relayed the divine message pertaining to the future to the people. In order to refine these divine revelations, ancient scholars devoted entire lives to studying astrology, painstakingly observing and recording the movement of the sun and stars, rain, snow, wind, and the waning of the moon, and deeply contemplated the ‘truths of the cosmos.’ Through these efforts, people of thousands of years ago were able to develop an astonishingly precise calendar system. In an age when there were no calculating machines (computers) or memory devices (servers), it is amazing how they were able to accumulate such enormous amounts of data and process it (and even put it to practical use). It shows just how strong people’s desire to predict the future was. We could say that future forecasting is an activity that is fundamental to humankind, the only species on earth endowed with intelligence.

Sacred precinct 1
Sacred precinct 1 by Xerones,(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The KAITEKI Institute (TKI) has a ‘Future Design Division’ (it was originally called the ‘Future Forecast Division,’ but was changed last year to express the idea that ‘you create your future’). A major mission of TKI is to “analyze information pertaining to the future and formulate concepts for businesses that will answer people’s future needs,” so it is a very fitting division for us to have. That said, the Future Design Division isn’t directly engaged in creating models to forecast the future like the economists mentioned above. Although we continuously nurture our curiosity for the future, we are at the stage of trying to grasp some of the ‘truths of the world.’ In other words, before actually trying to predict the future, we are studying what goes into making the most accurate fortune teller possible.

Since the beginning of recorded history, the intellectual activity of mankind has mainly been concerned with achieving the goals of 1) accurately reproducing an act of production that proved to be highly efficient in the past, and 2) making accurate future predictions. It even seems that the only intellectual field that ever put value on inspiration and coincidence (which have very low reproducibility and predictability) is the arts. Well, such intellectual activity has recently gained a powerful new weapon in the form of ICT (Information Communication Technology). ICT is capable of meticulously recording the past in great detail, and at our request, can reproduce a past event as though it were unfolding right now in front of us. ICT can also perform astronomical amounts of enormously complicated calculations to show us scenes from the future as though it were something that is actually occurring.

Have you ever heard of ‘Hello Santa’? * It’s an iPhone app service for the Christmas season that lets your children have a FaceTime chat with a real-looking Santa Claus on screen. It literally is a dream-come-true for kids, and it makes everyone happy. Some adults have voiced their criticism, saying that it ultimately ends up shattering the children’s dreams, but the providers of the service are probably unfazed. They might even say that it’s actually much better for the children and their families than them gathering around a Santa at the mall whose job is to attract more customers. Indeed to some extent, in our world today, a dream is not just a dream; we are in an age in which anything can be made to appear as though it actually exists. Then the real task becomes creating the content of the dream that the image represents. Whether one likes Hello Santa or not, it is a good example that makes us think about the powers of Virtual Reality enabled by ICT, as well as its challenges.

ICT offers tremendous potential in making dreams, the future, and other things that don’t actually exist appear at least as an image before us. With ICT’s great powers of storing, processing, and calculating data, combined with advanced display technologies, we are coming to possess simulation and control capabilities worthy of being called ‘divine.’ Now we must also come to think about how best to use this power. Indeed, “how to create dreams with big growth potential” is one topic that the Future Design Division at TKI is continuing to work on.

It would be wonderful if people would one day come to say, “TKI’s future predictions are so accurate that it’s scary.” With developments in ICT, we are now seeing the dawn of the Internet of Things (IOT), I n which chips are embedded into all kinds of things around us and are all inter-connected. The age is coming in which if you ever lose an item, you could just send out a signal and a satellite GPS system could immediately track it down for you. The day also may not be too far off for TKI to be able to predict your luck and give you a future reading, just like online horoscopes, except that it would be really accurate.

❋“Hello Santa” Offers A Memorable, But Pricey, Video Call With A Real-Life Santa