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"Quadmetrics Inc. says it can predict with greater than 90% accuracy the likelihood that a company will be breached within the next year."

the text above is from WSJ (Cybersecurity Startup QuadMetrics Calculates Odds a Company Will be Breached http://on.wsj.com/1PpsXfb). I red it and I thought that text said 'that company's technology can predict with greater than 90% accuracy the likelihood now and it can predict the likelihood that a company will be breached over the next year'

it can predict within the next year or a company will be breached within the next year?

my co-worker said to me " it can't predict with greater than 90% accuracy right now and it will be able to predict with greater than 90% accuracy inside 2017. so it says quadmetrics target the development of this technology inside 2017."

I don't think so... could you please help me and teach me what does the text say?

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  • Within the next year means in the next 365 days. Next year means next calendar year. In the next year can mean either depending on the context, and can be ambiguous. – Era Feb 16 '16 at 16:00
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I would interpret this to mean that they're predicting that a company will be breached at some time over the next 12 months (beginning at the point at which this prediction was made), and they're saying that there is a greater than 90% chance that their prediction will come true.

  • thanks. so it says " now it can predict with greater than 90% accuracy"? "within the next year" means only a period? – Ayaco Feb 12 '16 at 3:31
  • Yes, they're making a prediction today that something will happen during the specified period, and they're saying that the chances of that prediction coming true are greater than 90%. – Andy Schweig Feb 12 '16 at 4:56
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Leaving the validity of these claims aside, greater than 90% accuracy would mean if they made 100 such predictions you should expect more than 90 of them will turn out to be true.

Breached within the next year is a time limit on when the predicted breach will occur. It is not referring to gaining this predictive power within the year. If that was true the quote would have read like this:

"Quadmetrics Inc. says it will be able to predict with greater than 90% accuracy the likelihood that a company will be breached within the next year."

Instead it reads as so:

"Quadmetrics Inc. says it can predict with greater than 90% accuracy the likelihood that a company will be breached within the next year."

That means they claim to be able to make such predictions now.

Neither sentence is perfectly unambiguous. That doesn't mean the meaning isn't obvious.

Note: What they claim is that they can predict the likelihood of a breach with 90% accuracy. That doesn't mean the likelihood is 90%. Also within the next year doesn't necessarily mean it has a full year to happen. It means on Dec 31 (one day to go) they could predict that google has a less than 1% chance of being hacked. Whatever happens to google, good luck proving Quadmetrics got googles chances wrong.

  • thanks. so does the text say " now it cant predict with greater than 90% accuracy(now it can do with 60%...or 70% or some low score).but in future, during 2017 it will be able to predict with greater than 90%.not now" ? – Ayaco Feb 12 '16 at 3:26
  • @ayaco No, if their claim is true they must stay at greater than 90% accuracy. It's the likelihood number that can be as low as they like. – candied_orange Feb 12 '16 at 4:12
  • thank you. so this report said "Quadmetrics has ability to predict with greater than 90% accuracy right now"? – Ayaco Feb 12 '16 at 5:25
  • @ayaco Yes, they used the present tense when they said: "can". They didn't say "will". If they can't do it now it's a lie to say they can do it without some kind of qualifier. – candied_orange Feb 13 '16 at 6:22
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it means before a particular period of time has passed, during a particular period of time. I think 'within the next year' is the time during the end of the year 2017.

  • thanks. i want to know about it. does it mean "a company will be breached within the next year" or "it can predict with greater than 90% accuracy within the next year(it cant now)? – Ayaco Feb 12 '16 at 3:28
  • I think it is only a period of time if you use it without the before clause. In this say, it can be true – duyenngoc Feb 12 '16 at 3:34
  • thank you. will it accuracy be demonstrated? – Ayaco Feb 12 '16 at 3:51
  • Yes. It's a good say! – duyenngoc Feb 12 '16 at 11:25

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