The Oakland Raiders won their season opener last week against the Tennessee Titans, but let’s stay focused on the really important news here: Marshawn Lynch is back. The running back forever known as Beast Mode looked terrific in his return from a year of retirement, and Sunday he plays his first game in his native Bay Area as a Raider. A hive mind of more than 40 NFL fans would like Lynch and company to win this one big.
The Raiders and the New York Jets, who lost 21-12 to Buffalo in their opener, have a bit of a storied history together. After all, they were the teams in the Heidi Game, the most famous — or maybe infamous — regular season game in NFL history. Sunday’s matchup probably can’t quite live up to all that, but then again Marshawn Lynch is involved. Rule out nothing.
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To predict the result of this and other games, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. More than 40 NFL fans worked together as a hive mind to make picks. As you can see in the animation below, each participant controlled a little golden magnet and used it to drag the puck toward the answer they thought was the most likely outcome. As the users saw the puck move toward a particular outcome, it triggered a psychological response. They readjust their decision-making, building toward a consensus.
Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our previous article explains.
The hive mind moved fast to pick the Raiders here, even if it seemed to hesitate for a moment at the end there. Oakland is coming off its first playoff appearance in more than a decade and a nice win from last week, playing at home against a Jets team that’s, at best, still figuring things out. So that all sounds about right.
Maybe more remarkably, the hive mind feels nearly as good about the Raiders’ covering the two-touchdown spread. That’s a lot to ask for, and you can see the swarm hesitate between assigning this one high and low confidence, but either way the pick is the Raiders to take this by at least 14 points.
The game kicks off on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. Eastern on CBS.
If you liked this article, check out this video of Bob Ross (and his “happy little trees”) as seen through Google’s DeepDream A.I. program.