According to senior reporter Theresa Breuer of Kernel Magazine, by encoding "the news according to geography and tonality, or sentiment," a "network of around a hundred trillion semantic connections" can be created in order to (potentially) predict "wars, revolutions and even armed robberies."
In Egypt's case, for example, Leetaru had Nautilus evaluate 52,438 reports -- with surprising results. The data showed that in January 2011, just before the revolution, the mood in Egypt worsened significantly. Only in 1991, just before the Gulf War, was it similarly poor. Leetaru's conclusion? The Arab Spring could have been foreseen.
"It's like a weather forecast," he says. "A 70 per cent chance of rain tomorrow means that it might not rain, but it?s probably worth bringing an umbrella, because the conditions for rain are there."
According to Leetaru, political upheavals never come out of the blue. They announce themselves by sending "weak signals". These are pieces of information that indicate discontinuities. Weak signals may be the accumulation of similar events, but also the dissemination of new ideas and opinions.
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