There's a supercomputer at the University of Tennessee that can predict the future. Sort of.
"Nautilus" scans tens of millions of news articles and archives from around the planet in search of emotive words -- words such as "angry," "tense," and "concerned." Words that convey emotions rather than facts.
The computer then plots and cross-references these words geographically to identify areas where changes in sentiment are taking place.
Remember the Arab Spring in early 2011? Nautilus had it pegged. Remember Abbottabad? Osama Bin Laden's final location was well within a 125-mile radius identified by Nautilus.
The problem was that scientists realized these things only in retrospect, after they went back to take a look at what the computer had been finding. Nautilus isn't yet sophisticated enough to send out alerts.
But give Nautilus credit for staying on task. As London's The Guardian newspaper put it: "That's how Nautilus works, see. It sits there reading the news and calculates what's coming."
That sounds a lot like Andy Obermueller's job description.
You see, Andy is the chief strategist for StreetAuthority's Game-Changing Stocks advisory. In his quest to find The Next Big Thing -- and thereby help his readers make money from investing in it before the crowd -- Andy pores through mounds of publications on a daily basis to calculate what's coming.
The key difference between Andy and Nautilus? Much to the delight of his readers, Andy sends out alerts.
Last February, for instance, Andy alerted his Game-Changing Stocks readers to an Israeli company that makes a completely robotic surgical system for spinal operations.
Here's what Andy told his readers about Mazor Robotics Ltd (OTC:MZRTF):
Mazor Robotics Ltd (OTC:MZRTF) caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, it is the only company with FDA approval for robotic spinal procedures, which means that it functionally owns the market. Second, the size of the opportunity is significant -- about twice that of hip replacements, which is a $7 billion business in its own right. But there are dozens of players in that space. Here, there is only one.
Mazor Robotics Ltd (OTC:MZRTF)'s robots use 3-D image models and then use teeny tools to work very close to the spine. This often involves repairing bones using screws. The trouble with many spinal surgeries is that there is a 1-in-10 chance that the screw will be misplaced. When dealing with an area as sensitive as the spine, those are not good odds. Mazor Robotics Ltd (OTC:MZRTF)'s Renaissance system improves accuracy by more than 70%.