The human brain was built to predict the future. If you can’t see what’s coming, you can’t survive. Tea leaves, entrails, and complicated algorithms are just a few of the ways humans have tried to divine the future for personal gain. Today on our show we have three stories about various attempts to look into the future. A Berkeley undergraduate tries to beat the racetrack, economists attempt to predict recessions, and a software that can listen to a song and predict whether it’s going to be a hit. Guess which one is the most successful, and who forgot about a couple very important variables.

Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Daniel MacDougall, Bonnie Swift Jonah Willihnganz

Featuring: Sarah Rizk, Sam Alemayehu, Paul David, Howard Schwartz, Mike McCready, Jadena, Koji Gardiner, Eleanor Safridge Fields, Kasiana McLenaghan, Robert Mintz

Music: Koji Gardiner, Ian Burrell, Andy Seymour, Jeff Striker, Pascel, Boomsnake

URLs: Gambler’s Book Shop

Release Date: 26 February 2009

Story 1: Are you a hit?

Undergraduate researchers Sarah Rizk and Sam Alemayehu take a look at a new software that actually predicts the next big music sensation, and even take some local talent to the test. Does this mean the end of true artistic integrity and creativity?(note: this piece also aired on our “Form Follows Function” show)
image via flickr

Story 2: If I Major in Econ, Can I Tell the Future?

The recent/current financial crisis is an example of misunderstanding economic trends. However, many experts claimed to have predicted the downturn in the economy, locally and globally. By interviewing her professors, economics student Kasiana McLeneghan gets an inside perspective on what role her field can play on predicting the future trends in our global financial system.
image via flickr

Story 3: Rudimentary Computers Will Make You Money

Charlie Mintz’s dad became obsessed with horse races when he learned that some people could predict them better than others. He learns what it costs to become a master of prediction, as well as how much it can earn him. (note: the first several minutes of this story appears at the beginning of the episode, and the rest of it appears at the end of the episode)
image via flickr