By the end of the NCAA basketball tournament, which Duke won Monday night, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella had stolen the attention of the national sports media for his success in picking winners.
Thanks @RealJayWilliams. Full credit goes to @bing predicts & our team of data scientists…blending tech algorithms w/ human intelligence— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) April 5, 2015
According to Microsoft’s own results, Nadella ended up with a “bracket score” of 149 points, presumably awarded under the the “approved” method used by the NCAA and CBS, among others. Under those “rules,” more points are awarded for correctly picking the winners of the later rounds, which are in turn dependent on how players picked the winners of earlier contests. In that scenario, only 192 points are awarded, meaning Nadella did pretty darn good.
Microsoft’s own predictive search algorithm credited itself with 95 points, winning the race between the predictive algorithms. That’s two more than Google, however, which published its own bracket based on social trends from Google Trends. Facebook used similar metrics to publish its own bracket, and won 89 points in doing so. But it was Nadella who essentially went wire to wire, winning March Madness singlehandedly.
Why this matters: The lesson here is clear. We live in a world where the machines reign. And when the inevitable war for supremacy rages across a landscape laid barren by years of conflict, the humans shall turn to their last great hope: Nadella, who has found a way to tap the intelligence of machines to save mankind.
Although Nadella humbly gave credit to his company’s predictive algorithm, it was clearly Nadella’s own knowledge that put him on top. He broke ranks with Bing in several places, picking Wisconsin to upset Kentucky. (Bing, for its part, incorrectly picked Kentucky to beat Arizona in that game.)
Incidentally, Golden State Warriors forward Harison Barnes, who had earlier correctly picked many more games than either Bing, Google, or Nadella, faded late according to the rules of the bracket. He ended up with 77 points, edging out President Obama by just one.