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TECHNOLOGY

Can This Start-up Help Predict the World’s Future?

It’s an AI-based platform that enables individuals to crowdsource predictions

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 02 May 2018

Can This Start-up Help Predict the World’s Future?

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Justin Wang, the CEO and co-founder of Singapore’s Scry, is quick to admit that crowdsourcing online is nothing new — what differentiates his platform is what it’s applied to: the future.

Wang says the AI-based platform enables individuals to make predictions, keep track of their accuracy by making them quantifiable, and compare them with other users who, unlike your friends on a social network, would be much more diverse.

Wang worked as an information security management consultant, while his co-founder and CMO Jia Huang regularly interacted with top decision makers for a local multinational. In these roles, the founders felt that decision-making across the organizations was opaque and unquantifiable.

Use cases

What Scry does is connect predictors to those who want to use these forecasts in making decisions.

Wang gave several use cases which are drawn from questions currently live on Scry. In one scenario, a person could ask about the likelihood of a reversal on the Brexit decision. Or a person could try to ascertain the peak price of Bitcoin within a certain time frame.

Other applications could have no direct financial impact. “A family looking to relocate from their home country might be interested to know the likelihood of terror attacks in the shortlisted locations they have in mind, for example, Singapore,” says Wang.

He says the biggest challenge of building Scry was getting its initial forecasters.

“In this day and age where people prioritize instant gratification, not being able to see value immediately is a turn-off for people and they are reluctant to participate in the platform. We had to go through countless iterations of content and outreach channels in order to get even our first few users who would interact and engage on the platform,” says Wang, who notes that the value of Scry becomes more evident upon interacting with the platform and other users.

Over the last six months, Scry’s user base has grown to 7,000 users, and the company has managed to raise a USD$120,000 seed round from Zeroth-AI.

However, the revenue potential of the platform remains to be seen.

“We can provide a subscription-based service to persons or organizations that want to know, quantitatively beyond the ‘probablys,’ ‘maybes,’ and ‘unlikelies’ that you find in the average opinion piece online or in print, how large-scale events, like the next recession or Brexit-type event, will turn out,” says Wang.

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