SAN FRANCISCO — There is a new common symptom of the flu, in addition to the usual aches, coughs, fevers and sore throats. Turns out a lot of ailing Americans enter phrases like “flu symptoms” into Google and other search engines before they call their doctors.That simple act, multiplied across millions of keyboards in homes around the country, has given rise to a new early warning system for fast-spreading flu outbreaks, called Google Flu Trends.
Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org has released a new site that tracks the incidence of flu in the US based on terms used in Google searches.The system uses aggregated, anonymous results from searches for flu-related terms and plots their locations.The approach, validated against Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu records, provides timely data that could be two weeks ahead of government figures.
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“The Future of Self-Knowledge” research blog encompasses the techniques and methodologies used in corporate horizon scanning & forecasting, and their counterparts in ancient divination practices and the rise in personal genome services.
This research is used as a platform to develop personalised futures techniques for The FATE Institute (The Futures Association for Therapy & Entertainment), a think tank dedicated to developing personalised foresight services and products.
Posts on this site will capture thoughts, experiments and current areas of interest in relation to speculative and personal futures.
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