Perhaps the most natural way to explain predictive analytics is through the prism of Dan Aykroyd\u2019s 1976 SNL skit about the Bass-O-Matic.\nNow, before my well-intentioned friends in the legal community rush to accuse me of an abject, almost senseless bout of plagiarism, allow me to say: perhaps others have observed these connections as well. It certainly wouldn\u2019t surprise me.\nMy point is simply: of late, these formative truths seem to have fallen by the wayside in the national conversation\u2014a development that is every bit as sad as it is disturbing.\nRighting that wrong\nTo our eyes today, the technology underlying the Bass-O-Matic looks standard\u2014even old-fashioned. Yet at the time it was a revolution\u2014a revelation\u2014in the historically stodgy worlds of small-fish preparation and home-kitchen efficiency. The Bass-O-Matic shocked a nation, shook it to its very core. When Mr. Aykroyd uttered the phrase, \u201cYes fish-eaters, the days of troublesome scaling, cutting and gutting are over\u2026\u201d he was telling America that the familiar boundaries of daily life were, simply put, no more.\nA new day was dawning. Would it bring something wonderful\u2014or truly terrifying?\nIn 2015 we\u2019re accustomed to this rapid pace of technological change and the associated anxieties it can cause. We live and breathe the million microcosmic iterations of Moore\u2019s Law, watching as capabilities grow exponentially all around us. It\u2019s stunning and exciting\u2014like the Bass-O-Matic itself.\nYet it can also be frightening\u2014and believe it or not, there was a time when people feared the Bass-O-Matic too.\nTaking the generalized concept of the Bass-O-Matic to its logical conclusion: Automated, predictive bass-angling\nImagine a day in the not-too-distant future\u2014perhaps a Wednesday. You wake up, follow your morning routine\u2014brew the coffee, take the dog out, bemoan the lack of The Far Side in your local daily, take the dog out again. The sun is shining, the breeze is soft\u2014who can complain about a little fresh air? Fools and cynics, that\u2019s who\u2014and you\u2019re neither one.\nAfter some brief backyard calisthenics, you grab a quick breakfast and head to work, a bit earlier than usual because you want to prep for a big meeting later that morning.\nRemember, this is the future: self-driving cars have long since become the norm. You\u2019ve had one for years\u2014you\u2019re a technophile, an early adopter. Though truth be told you\u2019re also a people person. Heck, when it comes down to it, you\u2019re pretty well-rounded overall. And Wendell\u2019s cool too.\nWho\u2019s Wendell? You know, your self-driving car. So on this particular morning you tell Wendell to gun it\u2014\u201call business today, friend Wendell\u201d\u2014and soon you\u2019re speeding down a translucent ribbon of self-aware highway toward a distant gleaming city.\nYou realize you have more than enough time to prep for your meeting\u2014and what\u2019s life without a little fun? You take out your big (or small) smartphone and open up an app on your giant (or tiny) smartphone. You\u2019ve heard this particular app is a little different than most\u2026that it\u2019s a hit with anglers across the country\u2026people say it\u2019s the talk of the town.\nThe app? It\u2019s called Bass-O-Matic 2.0.\nUnderstanding the Bass-O-Matic 2.0\nYou input and save a list of your favorite lures\u2014the Hula Popper, the Zara Spook, the Deep Wee-R, the Craw-Colored Culprit. You indicate your preferred fishing style and environment (baitcasting, small bodies of water). And that\u2019s it. You accept the terms and conditions without really reading them\u2014this is the future, after all, not some bizarre alternate universe.\nYou pair your smartphone with Wendell. (Bluetooth is still around in the future, but it has new problems that seem to be related to the nationwide adoption of the self-aware highway\u2014people are working on it.) Then you decide that\u2019s enough playing around, and it\u2019s back to thinking about the big meeting. You and Wendell roll along that translucent ribbon of road, feeling at peace with the world and all living or otherwise self-aware things in it. You\u2019re getting focused, getting prepped\u2014maybe even a little psyched. The big meeting is today and you\u2019ve got to be ready when SCREEEEEEEECH Wendell takes a sharp left across six lanes of traffic and accelerates to 270 miles an hour.\n\u201cMy god what is happening!?\u201d you say out loud to no one in particular. Wendell assumes you\u2019re talking to him and explains that he is following the commands of the Bass-O-Matic 2.0, which has taken control after concluding (based on your account settings and real-time local crowd-sourced meteorological and hydrological conditions) that you stand a greater than 99 percent chance of catching a bass in a lake 2.5 miles to the north.\nAsk yourself: Who would live in this dystopian future?\nImagine a place where the process of catching a bass is automatically and irrevocably determined by a machine. Sounds good, doesn\u2019t it?\nOf course not.\nThankfully, no one in the field of predictive analytics is talking seriously about omnipotent bass-fishing apps that rule our waking lives. Rather, what data scientists are developing is analogous to apps that alert you to the right bass-fishing opportunity on the right body of water at the right time\u2014an opportunity you can choose to take advantage of (or not take advantage of).\nAs has been said before, we need not fear the Bass-O-Matic 2.0\u2014we need only be the masters of its development.