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I've heard prediction is equivalent to data compression.

prediction (essentially equivalent to data compression)

Is there a way to take a compression function and use it to create an AI that predicts?

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The way some (not all) compression algorithms work is that they encode frequent events in a short code, and rarer events with a longer code. Overall you save more space by encoding the common elements than you need to expend coding the rare ones. One example of this is a Huffman code, which uses a variable length encoding based on the frequency of the items.

You can use a compression algorithm for prediction if if encodes more than one event at a time. For example, word pairs rather than individual words. Each word pair will have a code, and the common word pairs (eg of the) will have shorter codes that the ones which are less common (eg of three). For prediction, select all the word pairs that start with your known sequence (eg of). Now select from that list the pair with the shortest code (which is more common), so in this example of would more likely be followed by the rather than three. After than, repeat the process with the next word, so look for pairs that begin with the.

All you need is the compression 'code book' which is produced during the compression process -- it's essentially a model of the data you compressed. This also works for longer sequences than pairs, of course.

If you want to know more about the topic, I can recommend Managing Gigabytes by Witten, Moffat, and Bell. Great book on compression techniques.

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