On Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers play their first game in L.A. since 1960. The Miami Dolphins start their season a week late after Hurricane Irma canceled their would-be opener. This isn’t the most typical game, but that won’t stop a hive mind of more than 40 NFL fans predicting the winner — and they like the Chargers’ chances on Sunday.
Los Angeles lost a close one on the road last week to the Denver Broncos, while the Dolphins’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to be postponed. It may not be the most auspicious of debuts, considering the teams will be playing in a soccer stadium that seats just 30,000, a fraction of what other NFL stadiums hold. That may be a bit underwhelming for the Chargers, but the Dolphins are probably just glad of a chance to play.
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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 triggers 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 wasn’t sure about this one, with a relatively low 76 percent of the swarm’s collective brainpower throwing their mild support behind the Chargers. That’s basically just a courtesy toward the home team — to the extent that the Chargers can count of much of a home-field advantage, that is.
The closeness of the matchup shows through in the swarm’s pick against the spread, backing Miami to cover the 4.5-point line. It’s too early to have much of a feel for either team, especially the yet-to-play Dolphins, but a close game seems like a solid prediction.
The game kicks off 4:05 p.m. Eastern Sunday 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.