I slightly changed my title from predicting the future with maths to can you predict the future with maths? Much much more scientific. So I guess the first way or the best way rather explore this question is via a life experiment So I’ve made a little prediction Which I put in a sealed envelope which we’ll come to later But first I want us as a room to try and generate a series of 10 random numbers if we can and see if my prediction holds true.
Of course humans, famously terrible at coming up wit randohm numbers themselves, so what I’ve done is got six newspapers that we can collect the numbers from basically all the national newspapers without pictures of naked women in them and There, so if I could just hand these out Instantly, I did have to buy a copy of the daily mail for this experiment, so I feel quite dirty, Hope you appreciate what I’ve done.
I’ll just hand these out. If you wouldn’t mind those of you that have a newspaper if you could please flick through to any page and pick a number that you find within the newspaper so I want it to be like a counting number so something like money or numbers of people and because we want it to be totally random Don’t pick a number that could be restricted right so nothing like percentages or dates or phone numbers nothing like that So you could pick those numbers for me and in the meantime? I’m going to try and get ten random numbers for those six papers So to add in just in case you think I’ve memorized all six national newspapers this morning, which I could easily do.
Stuff In Matrix
I want to add in a bit of extra stuff into the mix so anyone here on Twitter? Put your hands up if you’re on Twitter, please. Someone… you there, can you tell me your Twitter name? Penguin Galaxy good thing and do you know how many followers you have on Twitter? About 3600. What? Check you out, okay? Alright, let’s have our first number 3,600 okay, I fear only the very popular people on Twitter are going to be putting their hands up for this. 3,600 okay somebody else on Twitter. Let’s try to get four people on Twitter. Yes, please do how many photos you have? 241. 241 thank you very much lovely sir 241.
Let’s get two more. Yes, please About 6,500. You’re showing off, six and a half thousand! Blooming hell. Okay, one last one. – Hannah we have Ada Lovelace. Ada Lovelace, for Ada Lovelace day. 4812. You are more popular than Ada Lovelace day. Yeah, that’s quite something, okay? Let’s go back to our newspapers if we may do you have a number for me? 40,000 Okay, perfect and next. 55. Okay, what I will say is the live experiment is going really badly wrong. What did you say? 55? -I can change it. – Yeah, can you? And someone else, yes? 12,000 okay that is more like it, thank you.
I had one more there. 200 okay, we might be all right and over here? – One thousand one hundred and twelve. One thousand one hundred and twelve, and there was one more there 1072 okay, sorry and it’s like squashing there giving them a fine, okay, all right So those are our numbers pretty randomly generated. I think we can all agree Okay, right Now time for my prediction then which is contained in a sealed envelope over here. I believe you have the [envelope] for me Thank you very much.
Could you read what is inside the envelope? As loud as you can as well The numbers begin with one or fingers. There’s a [round] the floor Okay Okay, so I reckon you’ve guessed that I’m not actually psychic and why I was using here was something called Benford’s law And Benford’s law is a pattern exist in real-life data like the numbers that you see in newspapers which says Actually numbers beginning with a 1 are much more prevalent than any other numbers in fact you’re six times more likely find a number beginning with a 1 than you are a number of getting the width and 9 [and] actually the same is true for Twitter followers even though.
It’s quite worked out with our examples here and empirically [that] the numbers slightly differ But when you think of it in terms of Twitter followers this pattern begins to make sense Right let’s say it takes six months for you to double your number of Twitter followers If you start off [with] a hundred it would take you six months to get to [two] [hundred] six months to get to four hundred And six months to get to eight hundred But you’ll spend a lot more time at the numbers that begin with a one or two than you will with higher digits.
Mathematics Distribution Trick:
Now, this was a distribution trick. So there was always a risk that I would have got it wrong which is why I planted another envelope in the graphic very much instantly, but In Katelyn I’m okay, but the important point here, though Is [that] there are patterns that sit behind? Everything that exists in the world really in our natural world and in our human world and these are patterns which mathematics is uniquely placed to Describe and if you can understand these patterns [it] means that you can exploit them and okay perhaps not predict the future But you can certainly start to make some educated guesses about what’s likely to happen and these patterns are absolutely everywhere.
So they’re in you know data and newspapers. They’re in the way we form friendships the way that traffic Jams or Trance What happens even in the way that serial Killers behave? But they’re also in the way that we look at each other as men and women so there’s a really amazing new book That’s [just] come out and by the founders of OkCupid Who are all Mathematicians? and on OkCupid, you can rate how attractive you think people are between 1 and 5 right this is for heterosexual relationships in this example There are lots of different examples in the book So this is how men rate women on a scale of 1 to 5 and actually it’s a pretty nice curve, right?
It’s got a nice bell shape the middles in about the right place it’s got nice tails on either side which says I think something quite nice despite all the unrealistic views of women that [we’ve] bombarded with Actually men just fancy women. [I] think that’s what That’s that’s what this gets others and would you like to see the way that women rate guys? [ok] I’m sorry guys [miscarry] thanks Jordan lee. [they’re] basically women only think that one in every six guys is above average attractiveness, but We will still go out with you so it’s fine [size] [of] [x] but OkCupid is really good at finding this data looking for these patterns and And in using it to try and predict which couples are most likely to [go] well together But it doesn’t just happen it means this story isn’t just with things like dating.
They’re also much more serious Examples that have a bigger impact on our lives, so I wanted to finish with an example. That’s much closer to my own research And this is looking at the patterns and exploiting the patterns in Burglaries um [ok] so I? guess when it comes to burglaries Everybody is aware that there are some areas of a city which are much more prone to be prone to crime than others, right? And so here on the left is an image of Burglary Hotspots in Long Beach, California But what you might not be aware of is that these hotspots don’t just stay where they are they move around in space?
And time as you can see in this simulation on the left-hand side and the reason for this is something called Repeat victimization So anyone who’s been burgled may know of this? but essentially if you get burgled your chances of being burgled again within a short space of time Increase massively right and the reason is that burglars get to know the layout of your house They get to know where you keep your valuables the locks on your doors the escape routes and so on and so on But this effect isn’t just for you It’s also for your neighbors And your neighbors and so on and so on all the way down the street and this really picks out when you look at Data.
Real Number Line
So here’s some real data [from] [Burgers] in Merseyside and by one of my colleagues Shane Johnson and the different lines are in different weeks and as you go from left to right It’s the number of doors away from the original instant And you can really see this effect of decay in space and in time going away now this effect. This is repeat victimization will continue to happen until people Increase their own security or until police notice that there’s a [hotspot] forming and increase their presence in the area and act as a deterrent effect But what’s really interesting is this Pattern here repeat victimization?
Doesn’t just only belong to burglaries because you also find it when you look at earthquakes And this does begin to make sense right it you have an event that happens and it means that Subsequent events are suddenly much more likely But the mathematics behind both of these examples is actually incredibly simple and really really elegant [and] really Describes well what’s going on in in the real world? so well in fact and it’s so simple in fact that you could wrap [it] up into an iPad app
Give that to the police to use when they’re going out kind of policing a city and in fact, That’s what this group of Mathematicians who? Who I know and hate because I made so much money from it I’ve done in America And this is [the] screenshot of their iPad app so essentially they sold this piece of technology to so many different [place] Forces across America and some in the UK as well in Kent and in Birmingham I know they use this type of technology, so in a cop car effectively you have this iPad And it will tell you based on squares on a map.