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Robot predicts Afghanistan to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup

University of Canterbury robot predicts Afghanistan to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup

February 10, 2015

If flags are anything to go by, Afghanistan will win the 2015 Cricket World Cup, according to the University of Canterbury’s Nao robot Ikram.

Ikram, named after the Mexican-Syrian philosopher, Ikram Antaki, made the prediction after viewing the 14 competing countries’ flags.

A University of Canterbury HITLab PhD student, Eduardo Sandoval, decided to forecast a winner of the tournament which opens in Christchurch on Saturday. He developed software for the robot to help predict the outcome of the Cricket World Cup. Sandoval was recently awarded the Alfonso Caso medal from the National University of Mexico for his industrial design research.

“The Cricket World Cup is big worldwide. The tournament is the world's third largest (with only the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics exceeding it), being televised in over 200 countries to over 2.2 billion television viewers, according to Wikipedia.

“Television rights, mainly for the 2011 and 2015 World Cup, were sold for over US$1.1 billion and sponsorship rights were sold for a further US$500 million. The 2007 Cricket World Cup sold more than 672,000 tickets. Successive World Cup tournaments have generated increasing media attention as one-day international cricket has become firmly established.

“Paul the Octopus made predictions for the 2010 FIFA (soccer) World Cup which brought him worldwide attention as an animal oracle. So we put our robot in front of the flags of the 14 countries competing in the 2015 Cricket World Cup - Australia, West Indies, Ireland, New Zealand, England, India, Afghanistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Scotland, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.

“This was narrowed down to five teams - India, West Indies, New Zealand Scotland and Afghanistan - and in the final around Ikram selected Afghanistan as the winning team. Of course this is very unlikely, but with cricket the outcome can always be unexpected.”

The University of Canterbury has six Nao robots and in the past they have performed rugby haka and Gangnam style dances. Some New Zealand companies are developing industrial robots. However, research in social robotics is a great chance for New Zealand and the University of Canterbury to develop an export industry.

Researchers at Canterbury can offer their expertise to industry and work together to create a totally new industry with the obvious benefit to the New Zealand public. One of the first steps is for HIT Lab NZ researchers to study the psychological, sociological and linguistic aspects of the human robot interaction.

View the YouTube clip of Ikram selecting Afghanistan to win the Cricket World Cup:

Christchurch is one of two cities hosting the opening of the ICC 2015 Cricket World Cup this week. A free concert will be held in North Hagley Park on Thursday night to mark the event. The concert features 1000 performers on stage and a global TV audience of more than 1 billion people.


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