EMBERS is an anticipatory intelligence system forecasting population-level events in multiple countries of Latin America. A deployed system from 2012, EMBERS has been generating alerts 24x7 by ingesting a broad range of data sources including news, blogs, tweets, machine coded events, currency rates, and food prices. In this paper, we describe our experiences operating EMBERS continuously for nearly 4 years, with specific attention to the discoveries it has enabled, correct as well as missed forecasts, lessons learnt from participating in a forecasting tournament, and our perspectives on the limits of forecasting including ethical considerations.

Filed under: Big Data