New tracking software knows exactly where you’ll be on a precise time and date YEARS into the future (even if you don’t)
- Program called Far Out tracks people using GPS to learn their routine
- It then makes predictions about where that person will be in future years
- Far Out can react to changes in jobs, relationships and moving house
- The results are ‘highly accurate’ and can plot locations to the date
By Victoria Woollaston Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 17 July 2013
Where do you see yourself in five years time? It’s a common interview question designed to learn about a person’s ambitions, and thanks to new technology you could soon be able to give a precise answer to this question.
Researchers from Microsoft and Google can predict where a person will be years from now using a new computer software called Far Out.The programme tracks a person using a GPS device and learns their routine.
It then uses this information to accurately guess their future locations and will adapts its predictions even if someone changes their job, relationship or moves house.
A screenshot from the Far Out mapping software. Researchers from Microsoft and Google can predict where a person will be years from now using this system. The program tracks a person using GPS and learns their routine. It then uses this information to accurately plot their future locations
HOW DOES FAR OUT WORK?
Using GPS systems carried by volunteers and fitted to the transport they used on a daily basis, the researchers were able to plot around 150 million location points.
Furthermore, over 32,000 days worth of precise GPS data was collected.
This information was fed into the Far Out software which uses an algorithm to predict where a person will be in the future, based on where they’ve been in the past.
It does this by accurately ‘learning’ a person’s routine.
Far Out then offers predictions but can also automatically discover when someone veers from this routine.
The program will plot these changes, learn from them, and adapt accordingly.
Researchers believe the results could be used to predict rises in populations, the spread of disease, traffic and broadband demand to quote a number of the researchers examples.
Adam Sadilek and John Krumm wanted to learn more about what they call ‘human mobility’ so set about developing a formula that could predict where a person would be years in the future in their paper ‘Far Out: Predicting Long-Term Human Mobility.’
They gave 703 volunteers in Seattle a GPS device and told them to carry it around with them at all times, including going to work, shopping, out with friends and even travelling.
The researchers also fitted GPS units to the buses, cars and other transport used by the volunteers on a daily basis.
Sadilek and Krumm managed to collect around 150 million location points and 32,000 days worth of GPS data during this experiment.
This data was fed into their Far Out computer program to predict the ‘long-term human mobilty’ of each subject.
Far Out was able to offer predictions, and could also automatically discover when someone veered from their usual routine, adapting accordingly.
‘For example, [Far Out] might notice that Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually about the same and fairly consistent from week to week,’ the researchers told Fast Company.
‘Then when we ask about a future Tuesday or Thursday, the algorithm automatically produces a typical Tuesday/Thursday as a prediction.’
‘If there is a sharp transition, such as a move to another city, the system notices there is a discrepancy between its predictions and actual data and adapts to the new patterns.
According to Salidek and Krumm’s paper, humans are mostly predictable even over extended periods of time.
The researchers gave volunteers in Seattle a GPS device and told them to carry it around with them at all times. The researchers also fitted GPS units to the transport used daily by the volunteers. Sadilek and Krumm managed to collect around 150 million location points and 32,000 days worth of GPS data
The GPS data was fed into the Far Out system so the program could learn a person’s routine. Far Out then predicted where that person would be, including their longitudinal and latitudinal positions, on a certain date in the future. The software even takes into account if there is a national holiday on that date
The paper said: ‘Much work has been done on predicting where is one going to be in the immediate future, typically within the next hour.
By contrast, we address the open problem of predicting human mobility far into the future, a scale of months and years.’
Far Out uses ‘a nonparametric method that extracts significant and robust patterns in location data, learns their associations with contextual features (such as day of week), and subsequently leverages this information to predict the most likely location at any given time in the future.’
The researchers believe the software could have social uses, similar to Foursquare, or could be used by advertisers and marketers.
They also believe the results ‘open a number of interesting avenues for future research and applications.’
This could include predicting rises in populations, the spread of disease, traffic problems and broadband demand.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2366566/Far-Out-software-knows-exactly-youll-precise-time-date-YEARS-future.html#ixzz2ZIGI39oQ
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook