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Will Big Data Help Us Predict the Future?

How confident can we be in experts’ predictions and would they be able to make better predictions if they had more data?

By Patrick Davison

It’s spring and the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season. With the start of the new season comes the pundits’ predictions of who will win the World Series in October. Even though the season hasn’t begun yet, the so-called experts are predicting the Dodgers as five-to-one favorites to win it all in 2018, followed by the Indians and Astros at six-to-one. But how confident can we be in their predictions? How confident are the experts in their predictions? And what information did they use to make their predictions, and would they be able to make better predictions with more data?

More importantly, what does this have to do with Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap 2.0?

According to the Roadmap, “Big Data,” is predicted to shape everything from final-mile routing to long-term infrastructure planning to freight forwarding to ultimate decision-making to network optimization, all of which is anticipated to improve forecasting. GE’s Jeff Immelt was reported to postulate, “the marriage of Big Data analysis and Industrial engineering promised a nearly unimaginable range of improvements.”

The promise of Big Data will almost certainly help transform our industry and help bring about new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles. But how much of those “improvements” will actually help to predict future activities? Will more data computation capabilities help us make better forecasts, or simply provide us with more confidence in the forecasts we would have otherwise made with existing data?

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This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these and other digital solutions from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to getting your supply chain data house in order to measuring and tracking your Supply Chain Digital Consciousness Index or DCI. While implementing digital innovations into supply chains is complex, inaction is not a strategy. In fact, as the pace of supply chain innovation escalates, so does the price of inaction. In this new digital era, leaders will outpace their competitors faster than ever before

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