In 1983, when I was 13, I got my first personal computer. It was a Brazilian CP-500 (in the picture on the right). I was one of the first kids in my class to have a computer at home, and so many of my friends wanted to come to my house to play with it. It was really a big attraction for boys my age at that time.
Once I invited a friend and started showing him all kinds of commands in BASIC. He was impressed by how the computer executed all my orders. Then he said:
“Ask the computer who is going to win the Brazilian soccer championship.”
I found that idea extremely funny. Trying not to laugh, I explained to him that computers were not able to make such predictions. At most they could execute some very simple instructions…
Well, 33 years have passed since then. And now I’m not a young boy programming in BASIC, I’m a data scientist applying machine learning algorithms to build predictive models. Yes, I’m developing systems that predict what will happen in the future.
More specifically, my goal at Pontis is to analyse the history of how subscribers reacted to marketing offers in the past, and then build models that predict how subscribers will react to marketing offers in the future. These models are built using very sophisticated machine learning algorithms.
Based on these predictions, the system automatically decides which marketing offer is most appropriate for each subscriber. This allows a new level of personalization, and accordingly increases the success rate of our marketing campaigns.
Thus my young friend was right after all. Computers may predict the future. Give them enough data and some smart algorithms, and they will learn how the world behaves.