A real fortune teller

Big data might get a bad rap, but some researchers are trying to use it to predict the future. American Scott Cunningham is looking to data to help forecast the next advances in technology and he plans to showcase his methods at TEDxDelft 2013.

As an Associate Professor in Policy Analysis Section, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Cunningham focuses on teaching students how to predict what impact policy decisions will have in the real world. “We have even started teaching game theory to get students to understand strategic decision making,” he says. 


Cunningham has a truly global immigration story. He was born and raised in Georgia to English parents. He moved to England to pursue his Phd, where he met his French wife and returned to the US before moving to the Netherlands in 2003. 


He is looking forward to presenting his research at TEDxDelft 2013. “I was approached by the organizers after they heard of my involvement in my department’s MOOCs,” he says. Following in the footsteps of their colleagues at Civil Engineering and Geosciences, TPM has just begun their own MOOC. Cunningham has been working on the course with the department and, according to the managers at the recording studio, is a natural on camera. 


Using electrical vehicles as an example, Cunningham plans to present how researchers and policymakers can use data to predict which new technologies will be successful. He’s literally written a book on the subject, Forecasting and Management of Technology, which is now out in its second edition. “I enjoy TED,” he says  “And I’ve been inspired by talks such as  A prediction for the future of Iran given by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. While his talk focuses on Iran, what he talks most about is rational decision making. I want to show how that thinking can be used in other areas.” 


TEDxDelft 2013 will take place in the Aula on October 4th, 2013. TEDxDelft will be livestreaming the talks during the day and you can watch Cunningham’s presentation at

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