The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens looked their solid, dependable selves through the first two weeks of the season… and then last week happened. Who will rebound from an embarrassing loss with a win Sunday? A hive mind of more than 35 NFL fans likes the road team here, picking the Steelers to win.
Most weeks, losing in overtime to the lowly Chicago Bears would count as the worst loss imaginable. But Pittsburgh’s loss on the road still had nothing on the Ravens, who the Jacksonville Jaguars crushed in London 44-7. The Jaguars might legitimately be better this year, but still, a 37-point loss to Jacksonville is a 37-point loss to Jacksonville.
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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. Here’s Unanimous A.I. founder Lloyd Rosenberg explaining swarm intelligence at a recent TEDx Talk.
Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our previous article explains. Most recently, the swarm went a perfect 7-0 in its most recommended picks for last week’s English Premier League slate.
This one is close, but the stench of last week’s rout looks like it’s enough to get the swarm to go with Pittsburgh, even if they are the road team. Still, you can see how slowly and circuitously the swarm moves toward making that pick, with just 72 percent brainpower behind the eventual low confidence choice.
Pittsburgh is favored on the road, and the swarm again takes its sweet time to pick Pittsburgh to win by more than a field goal. This is one to be cautious about, especially when picking against the spread.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.