Microsoft has unveiled a new World Cup prediction feature on its Cortana digital assistant (the equivalent of Siri on the iPhone), and it is six-for-six so far in the knockout stages.
The bad news for Team USA fans, however, is that Cortana is tipping Belgium to eliminate them in the last 16 when they play Tuesday.
The feature only went live on phones for the knockout stages, but it has picked every winner of the last 16 so far. In addition to Belgium, it also tips Argentina to sink Switzerland in Tuesday's other game.
Its calculation method is a little less Paul the Octopus and a little more data-based. Microsoft explains, via PCWorld:
“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,” Microsoft said previously. “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.”
Whatever the methodology, it has picked all eight group winners to beat all eight group runners-up—that may be more a reflection of the results going with the form book than any kind of predictive sorcery, though.
Nonetheless, it's enough to get people watching to see how long the run can continue.