They claim 17 out of 20 past picks for winners panned out. Given the conservative nature of their "winning picks" it is not surprising that they have a high ratio of successful picks. They also do not say with clarity what that means in a precise way for third parties to judge if they got it right. IEEE advice if are you are just counting win/loss picks then bet the trifecta to lose and the favorite to win.
What does it mean for Intel's Larrabee chip to win ?
You have the dominant semiconductor company making another new line of chips. If they don't introduce Larrabee then that could be viewed as a failure but what is the chance of that ? If they introduce it and it is second to one of Nvidia's GPU chips in market share is that a failure ?
Microsoft introduced Vista and many people view it as a failure but it still has 10% market share. If Technology Review had picked it to win or lose how would we know if they were right ?
What does their list of winners/losers for this year show ?
Engineered geothermal will be a winner if australian turns on a nearly complete 1 megawatt reactor ?
Intel will win with Larrabee ?
Darpa will win with Prosthetic arms that are already on and bieng used by some people ?
10 Ghz radar will be successful when the military already has field tests and they are just moving to battlefield deployments.
quantum dot lasers will be a market success when Fujitsu has already picked it for deployment ?
Versus losers which are all early stage and smaller ventures like :
An amphibious car startup
Brain computer interfaces for games
Strawberry picking robots (maybe $1.5 million budget and currently only works in greenhouses)
- humans can do it better but if it finds a small niche market in japan and other places is that a failure
Face recognition for advertising TV screens in public places is a loser. Is it a loser only if the Minority Report situation does not happen or is it a loser if there are not more smart billboards than the one that has been on the 101 highway in the San Francisco bay area ?
E-fuel startup making ethanol from sugar is a loser.
There is not much risk that IEEE is taking with their picks. It is like saying if someone is playing blackjack in a casino and they say staying on 20 is a winner and taking a hit on 19 or higher is a loser. Plus they will not define an amibiguous draw as being winning or losing. Wow that is insightful. How do they get their great track record ?
Let me make some comparable non-technology predictions:
Winner: The Boston Celtics (36 wins, 9 losses) will make this years NBA playoffs.
Loser: Memphis Grizzles (11 wins, 30 losses) will make it this years NBA Finals.