Cortana strikes again, correctly predicting Germany's win over Brazil

Cortana, the voice-activated personal assistant on Windows Phone, has done it again, correctly predicting that Germany would beat Brazil in the World Cup semi-final.

The Siri-like assistant may have got the winner right, but even Cortana and her complex algorithms provided by Microsoft’s Bing search engine couldn't have predicted the 1-7 thrashing Germany handed out to hosts Brazil, highlighted by four goals in six first-half minutes.

As Germany march towards the final on Sunday - where they’ll play either Argentina or the Netherlands - Cortana too is marching further ahead of Paul The Octopus, who correctly predicted eight matches in the 2010 World Cup, including the final.

So far, Cortana has come up trumps in predicting the winners of all eight last-16 matches, all four quarter-finals and the first of two semi-finals. The second semi-final, between Argentina and the Netherlands, will be played tonight; Cortana expects Argentina to win.

Cortana relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine to guess the winners of each match. A blog post written by the Bing team last month explains how Cortana predicts each game.

“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.”


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