Fresh off of a successful night of predictions with the Oscars, the Bing Predicts team tallied up the results. Our forecasts netted a 6-for-6 record on the major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc.) and got 16 out of 19 wins correct. Now Bing Predicts sets its sights on the new spring season of reality voting shows, including American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and The Voice.
For those unfamiliar with Bing Predicts, we celebrate our one year anniversary next month as we take on the events which kick-started our work. Bing’s predictions are the result of applying advanced machine learning algorithms to web data, social networks, real-time data streams, and data from historical precedents.
During last spring’s reality shows, we had an accuracy >85% on selecting who would be eliminated each week in the three big reality shows. That’s no small feat given that a random selection in the early weeks of these shows would yield a 1-in-10 chance of picking the winner once we’re down to 10 finalists.
Remarkably, we were able to identify the eventual winner of American Idol, Caleb Johnson, by late March with high confidence (we maintained his prediction at the top from that point through the finale) even though as late as the afternoon of the Idol finale on May 21st, Mr. Johnson was still the underdog in prediction markets to win with only two competitors left.
We started the summer predicting the order of the NBA Draft lottery, where we were able to call 9 of the top 11 picks within one position of where they landed. We stayed with sports over the summer as we took on the World Cup in Brazil, predicting 15 of the 16 outcomes in the knockout rounds, missing only the consolation round game between Brazil and the Netherlands.
During the fall, we introduced our predictions to the UK as we predicted the Scottish Referendum vote. The interesting take-away was that our models had the odds of a “No” outcome within the 51-59% range from July 1st all the way to the event on September 19th, while popular polls showed a much wider range of values (some over 70%), and the final result of 55% validated our methods.
Back on this side of the pond, we continued our predictions in sports with the NFL season. At the end of the year, we were 67.2% (172-84), ahead of Vegas picks and 3rd in the list of experts as tracked by Fox Sports. We finished the season with a correct prediction of the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl despite being very unpopular with the local Seattle media (our algorithms don’t have allegiances). Our 24-23 prediction was close to the actual 28-24 outcome. In December we also turned our attentions to the big trends of 2015 through http://www.bing.com/trends/us/predictions.
Stay tuned as we kick off our American Idol predictions in early March, Dancing with the Stars in mid-March, and The Voice in April. Our predictions are just one reason to check out Bing for this spring’s reality shows, we hope you stick around.
– Walter Sun, Principal Applied Science Manager, Bing Predicts Team Lead