The recent movie genre about real-life creations of Internet behemoths is far from dead, despite a slight break after the success of "The Social Network." We have yet to see all the big movies about how Twitter changed the world of online communion during major events, or even a movie looking back to how the Internet was created and the race for personal credit. But if the story of Mark Zuckerberg seemed hard to match in the audacity of business acumen, there may be nobody quite like statistician Nate Silver and his uncannily accurate blog predictions for the 2012 Presidential election.
If Nate Silver didn't exist in real life, someone would have written a similar fictional character eventually. In fact, we've arguably seen a few fictional characters slightly similar to him in movies, particularly Will Hunting in "Good Will Hunting", though without the media feting him as a godsend in predicting the future. You also have the true mental illness battle of John Nash in "A Beautiful Mind", a film that still showed us Nash's incredible achievements in game theory for economics.
As with all math prodigies both fictional and true, the inside stories of how they eventually find a way toward success have enough near improbabilities to make for a compelling two hours in a theater. Silver's story is one that lends itself well to a movie, right on down to his fascinating connection to baseball statistics. While "Moneyball" has already touched on statistics in baseball, Silver's story is one that paved the road toward his formulas being what you might call dangerously useful.
You also have the perfect character setup in Silver's personal makeup: A gay man who happens to be a mathematical prodigy, and who almost becomes bored with his skills. All it takes is extending his skills into elections to find his road to a usefulness and obsession in the media that could change how we predict outcomes. Of course, there's also a type of danger in such stories, and it's one that also extends to the Zuckerberg tale.
That particular red light is one where a story is told a little too early before the real story actually begins. In the case of Zuckerberg, "The Social Network" may require a sequel in 20 years to see either a potential downfall of Facebook or the social networking site becoming legend. For Silver, it's going to be one of seeing how far he can carry his near 100% predictions through other political elections, plus if his methods ever become understood enough to be used everywhere.
This won't necessarily stop someone from making a movie about Silver within the next couple of years to showcase his fascinating backstory. And if Silver cooperates with the film, we may see the methodology of his ways that seems more than mere collecting of cumulative data. Then again, keeping the statistics method secret in a proposed movie adds more to the mystique of Silver that lends to a possible follow up movie years later.
In time, we may find that the Silver movie becomes as relevant a biopic as ones on Thomas Edison released 75 years ago. "The Social Network", in turn, may end up a relic from its own time based strictly on gimmicky rather than usefulness. It's a warning that true usefulness of a cyber product or blog is the ultimate secret in the probability of a biopic on the product's founder being relevant 50 years after it's made.