Precrime creeps closer to reality, with predictive smartphone location tracking | ExtremeTech

A British research group has developed software that can predict, within 20 meters, where you will be 24 hours from now.

It’s actually surprisingly easy to predict your general, routine movements — home, car, office, lunch, car, home — but it has always been nigh impossible to predict breaks in routine, such as a trip to the cinema or a holiday abroad.

The researchers, Mirco Musolesi, Manlio Domenico, and Antonio Lima of the University of Birmingham, cracked this problem by factoring in the location of your friends and your social interactions with those friends (phone calls, meet-ups, etc.) By simply analyzing how many calls you make to a friend, and by correlating your movement patterns, the researchers can predict your movements over the next 24 hours — even if you deviate dramatically from routine.

The repercussions of such an algorithm are immense, with possible applications that range from awesome to terrifying. On the relatively benign side of things, you can imagine a version of Google Now that knows where you will be tomorrow, and offers up suggestions for which clothes to wear, which other friends will be in the area, and where you should eat (plus a coupon, if the restaurant is one of Google’s partner). This application of the algorithm would be opt-in — if you want to enjoy the services that Google can provide by knowing your predicted location, then that’s your choice.

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Most of us are now used to soft keypads on touch screens of mobile phones and tablets. How about physical keypads that will rise up on a touch screen and will melt away when no longer required? It will soon be a reality! 

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