Microsoft's Cortana picks winner of World Cup, but blows 3rd place game

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As we reported last week, Cortana, the digital assistant that comes with Microsoft's ( MSFT ) Windows Phone, was on a winning streak, having successfully predicted the winner of 14 out of 14 World Cup games going into the final week-end.

Cortana (which is actually using the picks of Bing Predicts ), successfully picked Germany over Argentina-so, Kudos for that. Unfortunately for Cortana, she picked Brazil to beat the Netherlands in the game for third place. Every human I know found the pick extremely weird, having watched Brazil crumble against Germany and suffer a devastating 7 to 1 loss. No team had ever given away seven goals in a World Cup semi-final game before. To we humans, it was clear that Brazil had suffered a serious psychological blow, and that they would almost certainly not bring their A-game to the contest with the Netherlands. They didn't, and the Netherlands won.

It may be that this failure (in the midst of an otherwise remarkable accomplishment) reminds us of what statistical models can't understand. No matter how good machines get at crunching numbers, the human spark-or its absence-will always supersede.

Julian Close has been a business writer since the first day of the twenty-first century, having written for PRA International and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping. He graduated from Davidson College in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College in 2011. He became a stockbroker in 1993, but now works for Fresh Brewed Media and uses his powers only for good. You can see closing trades for all Julian's long and short positions and track his long term performance via twitter: @JulianClose_MIC .


This article was originally published on MarketIntelligeneCenter.com



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

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