Why do all famed prophets, such as Nostradamus or Edgar Casey, always report fire and brimstone type predictions? Why is there never a prophecy that mankind will have a day of peace and illumination, on, oh I don’t know…a Tuesday? (Yes, I am aware that some prophecies have been positive in nature, but the vast majority are negative)
Perhaps the reason is simply the nature of humanity, and I don’t necessarily mean that we’re destined to destroy the planet and ourselves along with it, which we very well might be. I mean that perhaps the reason is that all of our prophets are human, with fears and flaws and crushed personal aspirations. Or are they?
Well people…I give you Webbot!
Ok, so maybe Webbot isn’t really all that new, but it is, well, novel. I’ve written about prophets before, and perhaps I wasn’t exactly charitable when I did so. I mean, when you have to change whole words and phrases in a prediction to prove, after-the-fact, that the prediction actually did predict an event –such as must be done with a large number of Nostradamus’ quatrains- then you’ve opened yourself up for some criticism.
Webbot, however, has been 100% accurate in all of its predictions! Well no, actually it hasn’t. But shouldn’t an electronic, internet-wide, uber-surveillance wonder-algorithm using super bot be able to predict humanity’s future with 100% accuracy? That depends on who you ask.
Developed in the late 1990’s by Clif High and his associate George Ure to predict stock market trends, The Webbot Project, as it is now called, operates through the website www.halfpasthuman.com, where High sells his predictions piecemeal. High claims that his spider-like web robot can accurately predict future events by crawling the web and analysing “web chatter” to identify trends in global human emotion. He treats his algorithm as top secret and is rather tight lipped about how The Webbot Project works. High also has a YouTube channel: The Webbot Project, where he expounds on a wide array of subjects relating to metaphysics, prophecies and the paranormal.
The Webbot Project has been analysing the internet for more than two decades and in that time it has had its share of hits and misses. Much of the predictions you’ll find via the website above are rather mundane and cryptic, but some of them have been more sensational, such as:
- The 9/11 Terror attack
- The 2003 Northeast Blackout
- The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami
- Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Now, the legitimacy of these predictions is in question and they are widely regarded as postdictions – predictions that can only be attributed to events after the event has happened, often with liberal editing of the original prediction.
The Webbot Project does, however, have a long list of misses, such as a massive earthquake in Vancouver, Canada and the Pacific Northwest was predicted to occur on December 12, 2008. The US dollar was predicted to completely collapse, or Israel was to bomb Iran in 2011 and in reaction to this crisis, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama was to be thrown into major chaos ten days later. And most notably Webbot predicted a major catastrophe in 2012, relating to the Mayan Prophecy and a possible magnetic pole shift for the planet.
These failures, especially the 2012 catastrophe prediction have brought The Webbot Project into disrepute, but much like its human counterparts in history, none of this has done anything to dissuade true believers. High continues to churn out prediction after prediction even though those efforts have been criticised citing the ambiguity and gloom and doom nature of the predictions as major faults. Or as Tom Chivers of The Daily Telegraph says:
“…the internet might plausibly reveal group knowledge about the stock market or, conceivably, terror attacks [but] it would be no more capable of predicting a natural disaster than would a Google search, … the predictions are so vague as to be meaningless, [and] the prophecies become self-distorting.”
Ultimately, is Webbot just as fallible and biased as its human contemporaries? I would say so. While it may be a technological marvel, cold, calculated and robotic, it is fed by human emotion, using our digital voices as the basis for its predictions, and as long as there is a human element to the process, our biases, fears and dreams will be a major part of its prophecy.
What do you think about The Web Bot Project? Should we trust to an artificial intelligence in seeking answers about what the future may bring? Voice your opinion in the comment section below.
 Chivers, Tom (24 September 2009). “‘Web-bot project’ makes prophecy of 2012 apocalypse”. The Daily Telegraph (London).