Boy vs bot

Microsoft’s AI predicted an Argentina v. Germany World Cup final—and so did this nine-year-old

July 9, 2014
July 9, 2014
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Bing

Microsoft’s Bing search engine—and its virtual personification, Cortana, the sultry digital assistant on Microsoft Windows phones—has so far had a spotless record of predicting World Cup matches. And the nail-biting semi-final of Argentina vs the Netherlands, which has just been decided on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of goal-less play, has continued Bing’s winning streak.

However, someone else with considerably less processing power—at least of the digital kind—also predicted that Argentina would play Germany in the final on July 12. That’s Nathaniel Hill, aged nine, of Queens, New York, whose family has started a tradition of making World Cup predictions. As he wrote on Quartz, back when this World Cup started,

This year, I’ve taken over and created a spreadsheet with all our predictions for the group stage, including points awarded for the goal differentials. From our group stage predictions I can take us all to the group of 16 stage. So far my dad is winning the contest, but that could all change. I predict a Germany-Argentina final.

We haven’t yet contacted Nathaniel to ask who he thinks will win the final. But given that Argentina just barely defeated the Netherlands, while Germany bulldozed Brazil into submission, Bing’s prediction of a German victory seems like a fairly safe bet.

Correction: The headline of this post originally mistakenly mentioned the Netherlands instead of Germany.

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