Fox Doc: Predicting the future

- From science to the supernatural, humans seems to be obsessed with the future.

"Tomorrow" has been a subject that has consumed humans since there have been humans.

And before you dismiss the idea that someone can predict the future, consider astrologer Susan Miller.

"A psychic doesn't use math and I'm doing math all day long and it's exhausting," Miller says.

Her website, astrologyzone.com boasts six million unique readers a month.  Her "Year ahead 2016 calendar" will be included in the basket that presenters at the Oscars receive.

People through the ages have relied on astrologers for guidance with decisions like how to invest money and when to conceive children.

Like Miller, Chris Anthony uses math to predict the future.  He wriges a column for NFL.com.  He is obsessed with fantasy football.

Anyone who has played fantasy has been confronted with questions like "which of my running backs should I play this week?" or "Who will play better?"  Anthony has come up with a proprietary algorithm to predict who will perform better.

He plugs data into his system, measuring things like how players have played against certain teams, how they perform on grass versus turf and how they perform at home versus on the road.

"It's kinda like a meat grinder that takes tons and tons of data and squishes it down…digestable," Anthony says.

He then recommends which players fans should start.  He says he was 71 percent accurate on the past season.

The rise of daily fantasy sports leagues like Draft Kings and Fanduel has made decisions about which players to play more crucial.

Like Anthony, Scott Bernhardt spends his days trying to make people money by predicting the future.  He is the president of a company called Planalytics which works with more than 200 retailers worldwide.

Planalytics uses statistics and meteorologists to predict weather trends, for example, will it be colder or warmer than usual this winter.

"We study the economic impact of the weather in a very dollars and cents terms. So if the weather is going to be favorable to a product…how much is lost due to the weather," Bernhardt says.

Companies like Rite Aid, Ace, Subway, Payless and Dunkin Donuts use the predictions to make business decisions.

"If it's cold enough, people will go back for a second and third cup of coffee. That adds up and that adds up quickly to real money…promote," Bernhardt says.  "We are all about looking at the future."

So why are we so obsessed with predicting the future?

Marymount Manhattan College psychology professor Nava Silton says, "The biggest fear is a sense of uncertainty."

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