Do Things Happen for a Reason?

Web of Fate, a semantic analysis engine that extracts meaning from historical, present and future events and draws connections among them, launched this week. The brains behind it is young Max Yuan, an ASU student who received an Edson Entrepreneurship grant for a completely different project, and who has a head full of projects I hope he has time to complete because they all seem great to me. The most interesting of them involve cataloging and analyzing large bodies of data to determine relationships between events and trends.

While on the face of it Web of Fate says it’s a social experiment that harnesses the collective intelligence of the web to visualize and uncover hidden relationships among future events, the front end features are only there to generate interest from the general public and provide strongly typed data for the analysis engine.

By asking the questions “what, when, how, where”… Web of Fate is able to build an ontology model for events. All these data points can be cross-referenced and used in an analysis process. Out of that should come better trend-spotting and mapping, more accurate predictions, and more achievable goals. Max is thinking his analysis engine ought to be useful for decision support.

This is an ambitious undertaking. In the mean time, the site will let us have some fun predicting the future, creating time capsules,  and getting validation certificates showing that we have, indeed, made the predictions (just in case they turn out to be true). Web 3.0, here we come!FH