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Book Review: ‘Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die’ by Eric Siegel

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Can computers learn? How can computers increase our predictive capacities? If you’ve always wondered about these questions, Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die is for you!

We seem to be obsessed with prediction. We’d love to predict and know what will happen in our future. We go to palm readers, read our horoscopes daily or weekly, and feast upon fortune cookies to get some idea, however, inaccurate, of what may happen to us in the future.

But is prediction of this sort accurate? Regardless, people are very interested in this type of prediction and will spend any money and effort to achieve it.

Most people don’t really know what predictive analytics means and how anyone can be interested in such a mysterious discipline. But after reading Eric Siegel’s book, readers will find this a mesmerizing and fascinating study. I know I did! And given my background in philosophy, I was entranced by the book.

Predictive analytics is intuitive, powerful, and awe-inspiring. A little bit of prediction can go a long way towards combatting financial risk, fortifying healthcare, conquering spam, toughing crime fighting, and boosting sales. It can even be used to predict when someone is going to die.

Prediction is a discipline by which we use what we know to place increasingly accurate odds on what’s coming next. This can pierce the barriers between today and tomorrow. We can build machines that learn from experience. It is all computerized and they comprise of the most accurate predictions. And the computer is always improving predictions and making them even more accurate as time goes on.

Will computers change the nature of learning? They might. But it’s important to realize that a computer and brain both learn in mysterious ways. Your brain and computer are very powerful. Computers can be programmed to think but could they also feel and become intelligent as we are?

These are truly stimulating philosophical quandaries that cannot be answered in one book. These are questions that have been pondered by many philosophers, psychologists and theorists interested in artificial intelligence. Only time will tell. But in the meantime, we know that computers can learn. And who knows what the future will hold.

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