The Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders are both trending downward, as unbeaten starts have given way to two-game losing streaks. Whoever loses Sunday will officially be on the verge of a downward spiral. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans thinks the Raiders will be the ones to avoid that fate, picking them to win Sunday.
The Ravens have suffered the worse pair of losses, a 26-9 defeat to their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers last week and a 44-7 stomping at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars the week before. The Oakland Raiders have lost by smaller margins, but they are also without starting quarterback Derek Carr, with E.J. Manuel set to go in his place as Carr recovers from a back injury.
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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. For instance, the swarm went a perfect 7-0 in its most recommended picks for a recent English Premier League slate.
The swarm likes Oakland here, though only to a point — it’s a low confidence point with 73 percent brainpower behind the choice. A decent chunk of the dissent is in favor of picking the Raiders with high confidence, but it’s fair to say the consensus here is low.
Similarly, the swarm doesn’t feel especially certain of picking the Raiders with a 2.5-point spread — it’s again a low confidence pick with the same 73 percent brainpower.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.