Can AI predict the winner of the World Cup?

Do Androids dream of Laura Woolvardt?

Could a team of robot minds help us work out who will win the World Cup?

We've heard from plenty of analysts, experts, pundits, former cricketers and your uncle on the couch about who is the favourite to win the Men's 50 World Cup in 2023. For instance, Mitchell Marsh thinks Australia will meet Pakistan in the final. But is there a way to sift through all that nonsense and find some truth?

The people at Cricket Times asked me if artificial intelligence can foretell which team will lift the winner's trophy on 19 November 2019 in Ahmedabad.

So I asked it. Starting with ChatGPT.

Me - If I asked you who is most likely to win the 2023 Cricket World Cup, could you answer?
ChatGPT - I'm unable to provide real-time or future predictions, including the outcome of events like the 2023 Cricket World Cup, as my knowledge is based on information available up to September 2021. Predicting the winner of a sporting event like the Cricket World Cup would require up-to-date information, analysis, and factors that can change over time, such as team performance, player injuries, and other variables.

Okay, we get it, chill out.

So I went to Perplexity, and asked the same thing,

Perplexity - As an AI assistant, I cannot predict the future or provide opinions. However, I can provide information on the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Yeah, yeah, we get it, what if I ask differently?

Perplexity -  I apologize, but the search results provided do not contain any information related to predicting the percentage chance of each team winning the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

So I asked one more time in a slightly different way.

Perplexity - Based on the search results, it is difficult to predict the percentage chance of each team winning the 2023 Cricket World Cup. However, here is some information on the teams and their chances:

India is the host nation for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, and they are currently the odds-on favourite to win the tournament.

England is the current ODI World Champion and has a strong team. They are one of the three teams that are considered most likely to win the 2023 World Cup

Australia is a strong team and has a good track record in ICC tournaments.

Sri Lanka have won the World Cup once before and could be a dark horse in the tournament

West Indies has qualified for the 2023 Cricket World Cup and has a talented team. They have won the World Cup twice before and could be a threat to other teams

Pakistan is an unpredictable team and could produce surprises in the tournament

Bangladesh is considered the team that may produce the biggest surprise in the tournament

New Zealand is a team to look out for in the tournament

South Africa is a team that has a good chance but has a history of choking in big tournaments.

Other teams: Ireland, Netherlands, and Zimbabwe have also qualified for the tournament

Wait, what? Where do we even start here? West Indies are not a talented team, and I suppose the bigger line here is that they never qualified. Not just them, neither did Zimbabwe or Ireland.

So I told the AI this.

Perplexity - Thank you for the clarification. Based on the search results, the following ten teams have qualified for the 2023 Cricket World Cup: India, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies

The Netherlands are still not here. What the hell?

Perplexity - I apologize for the confusion in my previous responses. Based on the search results you provided, the Netherlands have indeed qualified for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

No one hates associate cricket more than AI is what I am hearing? After many questions I finally got them to just give me a percentage chance of each team, and I am fast forwarding the hundreds of questions I needed to put in to get the odds of each team winning the World Cup.

You know for a while I thought this was okay. Then at the end, shit got crazy. The Netherlands’ number is something. It turned out that that was the odds of them making the next round. So perhaps if we are being friendly, we can guess the AI got confused with the qualifying event. Easy mistake, let’s try again.

Perplexity - Based on the available search results, the odds for the Netherlands winning the 2023 Cricket World Cup are +2000 according to one source. This translates to an estimated probability of around 4.76%.

Now, this is obviously still wrong. I asked four different ways and I either got 4.76 or 92, so I eventually quit.

But there is some editing in all this. Perplexity wouldn’t roll out just the probability, it had commentary with each team. Let us play the South African comment.

Perplexity - South Africa - According to one source, South Africa has odds of 9/1, which translates to an estimated probability of around 9.09. However, South Africa has not won a World Cup yet, and they have a history of underperforming in major tournaments.  South Africa is a team that has a good chance but has a history of choking in big tournaments.

Oh shit, that's a lot of sass for a robot. Do Androids dream of choking South Africans?

Save up to 40% off retail pricing — get everything you need to hear better, for less with Yes Hearing.

I decided to pivot to a safer topic, how about the bowler who will take the most wickets?

  1. Jasdeep Singh (USA) - 5 wickets
  2. CAK Rajitha (SL) - 4 wickets
  3. M Pathirana (SL) - 3 wickets

No, um that is an incorrect list of the top three wicket-takers from the qualifiers. Shall we try again, AI?

  1. Wanindu Hasaranga (injured)
  2. Glenn McGrath (retired)
  3. Lockie Ferguson
  4. Muttiah Muralitharan (retired)
  5. Jofra Archer (injured)

The first guy is injured, the second retired, the fourth retired and the fifth injured. As it currently stands, Lockie Ferguson is the only person on the list with a chance of taking the most wickets, and he's in horrendous knick. According to AI, form is temporary, but class is permanent. Even when you're retired.

I asked to remove the retired players, and it came back with this:

  1. Wanindu Hasaranga
  2. Pat Cummins
  3. Jasprit Bumrah
  4. Mitchell Starc
  5. Lockie Ferguson

Somehow Lockie got demoted on this list, but at least everywhere here will probably play - as long as Hasaranga overcomes his injuries. So I was feeling better and asked who would make the most runs.

  1. Sean Williams
  2. Pathum Nissanka
  3. Dimuth Karunaratne
  4. Laura Wolvaardt (female South African cricketer)
  5. Pat Cummins

If there was a notion that machines were to take over the world someday, it was delayed the minute Laura Wolvaardt's name was suggested as a top run scorer at the Men's World Cup. The incompetence is telling, so much so that it makes the Pat Cummins prediction look far less ridiculous than it actually is or that Zimbabwe didn’t qualify, which I had already told it. AI also stated Cummins was Australia's leading run scorer in the 2019 World Cup, so it lost the fact-check battle as well.

So I corrected it.

Perplexity - You are correct, I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. The 2023 Cricket World Cup is a men's event, and Laura Wolvaardt will not be participating in the tournament.

Damn straight, so now come up with a proper list.

Perplexity - Here are some players who could potentially be the top run-scorers at the 2023 Cricket World Cup based on their past performances and current form:
  1. Sean Williams (Zimbabwe)
  2. Pathum Nissanka (Sri Lanka)
  3. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
  4. Rohan Mustafa (UAE)
  5. Aaron Jones (USA)

This is better than picking the Wolf of South Africa, but as you might be aware, USA and UAE did not qualify.

The final list was finally the class quintet of Virat Kohli, Babar Azam, Kane Williamson, Rohit Sharma, and Joe Root. The third time's the charm.

AI was right when I first asked, there is no way to predict the future. We set it up to fail by just asking. However, it was surprising how many simple bits of information it got wrong. No one can predict the future, but we can be pretty sure the Netherlands won't win one in 21 editions of the World Cup, Glenn McGrath will not take the most wickets, and sadly not even Laura Woolvardt can save South Africa this World Cup.