"The theory is simple and reasonable: the more you know about what is happening right now, the better you'll be at predicting what will happen next. One United States intelligence agency is planning to do just that -- using Google, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else that provides a window on current events and trends. [...]
The kinds of sources of information that the project will be consulting are referred to as OSI, or Open Source Indicators -- such as "web search trends, blogs, microblogs, internet traffic, webcams, financial markets, and many others" according to the notice. Using "continuous, automated analysis" of these indicators, IARPA hopes to "anticipate and/or detect societal disruptions, such as political crises, disease outbreaks, economic instability, resource shortages, and natural disasters."