The world is constantly reporting on itself, whether it’s through SEC filings, blog posts, or Twitter. Nate Silver already has a grasp on this by using big data, but what about everyone else?
That’s why Recorded Future is such a genius idea. It captures all of that data and compiles it in a timeline to give its clients a peek into the future.
With speculation about Foxconn phasing out its Chinese workforce, Recorded Future is tracking everything from rumoured reports of Foxconn opening factories in the U.S. to news of a hiring freeze in China.
Recorded Future will look for signals like covert behaviour, words and phrases like “frankly” and “as you know” that imply someone is about to lie, specific dates, or unusual behaviour from a company.
It’s important to note that Recorded Future itself does not predict the future, but gives its clients the necessary information to dive into deep analysis.
Recorded Future VP of Product Matt Kodama says it’s quite fascinating if you look at product releases. There are tons of people involved in the development of a product, with some people responsible for building parts, while others are in charge of things like marketing and distribution.
“As that gets closer to the end, there are lots of people who know what’s up,” Kodama says. “So somebody is going to leak the information about the release date, but very early on, it’s all hush hush. If you look at the speculation of just regular people, you know, ‘wisdom of the crowd,’ about when some of these consumer products are going to launch, it’s actually pretty accurate.”
Sometimes that information surfaces a few weeks out. But other times, it’s months out, Kodama says.
If you’re an executive at Samsung, for example, you would want to know when Apple plans to release its next iPhone so that you don’t end up launching a phone at the same time.
But Recorded Future also covers geopolitical events. In preparation for the Kenyan election, Recorded Future created an event feed to help its clients identify any potential indications of violence.
“Tons of governments around the world were interested in the Kenyan elections because the past ones have been so violent,” Kodama says.
Kodama couldn’t provide exact numbers, but said that there were definitely governments using Recorded Future as a resource.
Using the feed, government officials could view the feed in a timeline view to see the sequence of events. Or, they could look at the map to quickly identify which parts of Kenya are generating the most election-related information.
“That’s our innovation, looking at that text and sorting out what people mean when they talk about time,” Kodama says. “The reason that’s important is because analysts are trying to understand sequences of events, causation, and predict the future. They can see that information organised by time and start making guesses about what’s going to happen next.”
Recorded Future has raised a total of $20 million from a slew of high-profile investors like Google Ventures, Atlas Venture, IA Ventures, and the venture arm of the CIA, In-Q-Tel.
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