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It may be too late for these guys, but soon computers may be able to tell the future Leif K-Brooks via Flickr

Regrets, they've had a few...Google to teach computers regret and disappointment

The computers of tomorrow may be able to predict the future with the benefit of hindsight and regret. Well, Google hopes so anyway.

COMPUTERS CAN DO pretty much anything for us these days, but now scientists want them to have feelings too.

Google is funding researchers at Tel Aviv University to programme a computer to feel regret. The internet giant believes that a machine with the ability of  hindsight will be able to predict the future.

The computers won’t of course be able to wring their hands when something goes wrong, but they can measure the distance between a desired outcome and the actual outcome.  PopSci reports that machines could learn to minimise any ‘regret’ felt and thus teach them to evaluate all the variables surrounding an outcome in advance.

Professor Yishay Mansour of Tel Aviv University has developed an algorithm based on what a machine can learn. He says:

Compared to human beings, help systems can much more quickly process all the available information to estimate the future as events unfold, whether it’s a bidding war on an online auction site, a sudden spike of traffic to a media website, or demand for an online product.

Google hopes that the technology will aid in ad targetting for its Adwords and Adsense businesses, while Time comments that the company will use computers’ regret in its search engine, recalling that former CEO Eric Schmidt has recently said that Google may someday “just know” what you’re looking for.