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Scientists Use AI For Fantasy League Soccer Manager

Two researchers from the University of Southampton said they have successfully tested an artificial fantasy soccer league player during the last season and are now intending to enter the player in the coming season "for real". Last year, the software placed on average, in the top 1 percent of the 2.5 million players in the official English Fantasy Football League, run by the Barclays Premier League. At one point, the technology was ranked among the top 500 players.

The software is based on AI that "uses an extensive series of algorithms to analyze players' performances and statistics before picking its football team each week," the researchers said. But there are some elements the software is not accounting for. For example, the software cannot account for situations in which a player is injured and still plays, it cannot assess morale or "personal issues" that may affect his performance on the field. So the researchers are hoping for the contribution of other players to add "this subtle information into the system". The idea is to find out whether this added information makes the system perform better or worse in the end (this will depend on the accuracy of the information inputted by humans).

The researchers said they are currently working on a web application that will allow players to get advice from the artificial soccer league manager and to play against it.