Computer tipster promises riches

The gambling program's 66 percent success rate may be attractive to punters, but the bookies aren't running scared yet

Any gamblers who lost money on the weekend's sporting action may do well to turn to the world of technology for their top tips in the future rather than rely upon whispers at the bar or back-page gossip.

An Aussie IT researcher has written a computer program which predicts the outcome of sporting events with such alarming regularity that some have suggested it could make professional tipsters redundant and leave bookies severely out of pocket.

According to its inventor Alan McCabe the great benefit of the computer program is that it makes wholly objective predictions, removing the sentiment, superstition and good old 'hunch' factors that have held back punters in the past.

The programme analyses the manifold idiosyncrasies that set teams apart, prioritising traits and peculiarities such as away form, point scoring and defensive qualities to come up with the likeliest victor in every encounter.

However, Ed Pownall from online bookie Blue Square believes sport is still full of enough inherent vagaries to leave such a scientific analysis fundamentally flawed. Pownall said: "While they may take the human factor out of the tipping itself they can't take the human factor out of the teams."

According to a report in the New Scientist, the McCabe Artificially Intelligent Tipster (MAIT) boasts a success rate of 66 percent in predicting the outcome of Australian rugby league matches.

To put this into some perspective, anybody who chose to back champions Arsenal in every Premiership match last year could have gained a 68 percent success rate. In that regard you don't need a computer to tell you that backing the favourite in a two-horse race will yield more successes than failures -- but it is with the tricky middle-of-the-table clashes that MAIT comes into its own and a 66 per cent success rate starts to look quite impressive.

MAIT beat a raft of human tipsters in predicting the outcome of all matches over the Australian rugby league season, and there's no reason why the technology shouldn't be rolled out to analyse other popular betting sports such as football.

However, before punters get too excited it's worth noting that MAIT is not the first such technology to offer a scientific way to beat the bookies.

During last summer's World Cup various computers offered predictions on who would win. While one correctly predicted Brazil would triumph, many others that predictably tipped either Argentina or France duly failed before the tournament had even reached the knockout stages -- proving technology's inherent inability to account for shocks and surprises.

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