I don't have the time to schlep all the way to Delphi for definitive augury of the future so I've decided to give up on tomorrow. I'm going to predict the present. And I'm not alone. [Note: Wait for it...]
Even predicting the present is useful, since it may help identify "turning points" in economic time series. If people start doing significantly more searches for "Real Estate Agents" in a certain location, it is tempting to think that house sales might increase in that area in the near future.
Our paper outlines one approach to short-term economic prediction, but we expect that there are several other interesting ideas out there. So we suggest that forecasting wannabes download some Google Trends data and try to relate it to other economic time series. If you find an interesting pattern, post your findings on a website and send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll report on the most interesting results in a later blog post.
It has been said that if you put a million monkeys in front of a million computers, you would eventually produce an accurate economic forecast. Let's see how well that theory works ... [More]
As long as agriculture continues to tolerate sloppy, untimely data reporting of our industry by the USDA, we should hardly be surprised our own predictions are not the best they could be. I suspect we might be more productive mining data to predict the present, as illustrated above.
I think we can gain enormous competitive advantage simply by knowing what is happening right now.