Microsoft's Cortana Voice Assistant Correctly Predicts World Cup Winner

Pulkit Chandna

The voice assistant was spot on with 15 out of 16 knockout match predictions

The quadrennial soccer extravaganza that is the FIFA World Cup just got over in Brazil, with the Germans beating the Argentinians for the title by scoring the only goal of the match in the second half of extra time. But they weren’t the tournament’s only winners. The final also saw Microsoft’s Windows Phone voice assistant Cortana cap off an overall brilliant tournament by once again correctly predicting the winner prior to kick off.

During the knockout matches she was spot on with all her predictions, save for the Brazil-Netherlands third place playoff, where her mojo deserted her and she ended up favoring hosts Brazil instead of the actual winners, the Dutch.

Here’s an excerpt from a post on the Bing Blog explaining how the predictions work : “The process of predicting outcomes of sporting events is unlike voting show predictions [another thing Cortana does], as popularity and some sentiment signals do not play similar roles in determining who wins a contest.  Rather, the actions and performances of a handful of individuals solely determine who wins, loses, or ties.  For the tournament, our models evaluate the strength of each team through a variety of factors such as previous win/loss/tie record in qualification matches and other international competitions and margin of victory in these contests, adjusted for location since home field advantage is a known bias.  Further adjustments are made related to other factors which give one team advantages over another, such as home field (for Brazil) or proximity (South American teams), playing surface (hybrid grass), game-time weather conditions, and other such factors.  In addition, data obtained from prediction markets allows us to tune the win/lose/tie probabilities due to the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ phenomenon captured by the people wagering on the outcomes. You can read more about the model on the Next Blog here .”

Image Credit: Bing Germany

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