Bei Maejor is going to be the next Justin Bieber, at least according to future prediction by Shazam. The music tagging service is using the data it currently has from tags and internet hype to predict who is going to make it big in the next year. This is a more fun application of something called, Predictive Analytics.

The is nothing new. Companies and organizations have been using predictive analytics for years. The whole process is done through combining previously recorded data, watching trends, and plotting the data to see how history repeats itself and make predictions for the future.

One application for predictive analytics that has had a significant impact is in law enforcement. Police are looking at crime trends from years past to predict where crimes are going to happen in the future. CNN found the Santa Cruz Police Depart has used a predictive analytic system to monitor burglaries in the area. Thanks to the software, burglaries have dropped 19-percent over the course of a year.

The technology isn’t just used to catch criminals or predict the next Rhianna. Scientists use predictive analytics to forecast weather catastrophic like earthquakes, droughts, and hurricanes.  However the methods aren’t perfect. Six Italian scientists were jailed for the April 6th, 2009 earthquake that struck the Italian medieval city of L’Aquila and killed 308 people. The scientists were found to have been negligent for downplaying the potential of a catastrophic earthquake, due to the data showing the possibility was low.

Predictive Analytics is not a perfect science. It does not account for the variable of the unknown. However it can give us insight into what the future holds.

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