Microsoft’s Bing just called the first four primaries for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton
By MARK HACHMAN
In March, Microsoft said it would use its Bing technology to predict the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. On February 1, Microsoft said that Donald Trump would win the first four primaries by an even wider amount than before.
Microsoft’s Bing predicts that Trump will win the Republican primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada relatively easily, topping Ted Cruz in all four states. Hillary Clinton is expected to win three out of the first four Democratic primaries—Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada—losing New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders.
Microsoft said it used data from polls, prediction markets, and anonymized and aggregated search-engine queries to predict its results—some of the methods that it’s used to predict the outcomes of everything from “American Idol” to the World Cup. It isn’t always right: Bing never predicted the Denver Broncos to play the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs, let alone beat the New England Patriots—Bing’s erroneous pick to win the Super Bowl.
Why this matters: Microsoft routinely shows off Bing’s skills by mining Internet data for predictions on sports and entertainment, politics, and more. The Super Bowl, however, is a sporting event, retaining an element of unpredictability. Award shows are where Microsoft can sink its hooks deep into social sentiment and fish out winners: It correctly called the 2015 Academy Awards, for instance. Elections, where poll follows poll follows poll, are another wealth of data that Microsoft can tap. Microsoft correctly called the “No” vote on the referendum for Scotland to secede from Great Britain, and also accurately predicted the outcome of more than 95 percent of the 2014 U.S. midterm elections.