Using Bing, Cortana Predicts NFL Game Results On Windows Phones

By Barry Eitel , Updated Sep 03, 2014 02:20 PM EDT
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Windows' digital assistant Cortana can now predict NFL games. Microsoft's version of Siri did a near perfect job of predicting the World Cup over the summer (becoming this year's version of Paul the Octopus from the 2010 World Cup), and the developers are now taking the feature to the NFL.

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Ask Cortana about the outcome of an upcoming football game and the software will quietly go to work searching Bing for the appropriate stats and figures. After some calculating, the digital assistance will give you its prediction.

"For pro football," writes Walter Sun, leader of the Bing Predicts team in charge of Cortana's new abilities, for Microsoft, "we model the respective strengths of the teams by examining outcomes from previous seasons including wins, losses, and the very rare tie outcome (two games since 2009), factoring in margin of victories, location of contest, playing surface and roof cover (or lack thereof), weather and temperature conditions, scoring by quarters, and multiple offensive and defensive statistics."

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The statistical basis for Cortana's predictions is pretty impressive and wide-ranging-Bing looks at all angles for help.

"In addition to this prior model, we identify fans on Web and Social sites and track their sentiment to understand the aggregate wisdom of this expressive crowd," Sun continued. "This introduces data which statistics alone cannot capture, providing real-time adjustments which surprisingly can capture injury news and other substantive factors in win probabilities."

To try out Cortana's abilities, all you need to do ask your phone (running on Windows 8.1, of course) "who will win, team A or team B?"

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