When last we saw the Atlanta Falcons before their bye week, they were losing 23-17 to the Buffalo Bills. One random loss to a mediocre AFC East team is excusable for a team with designs of getting back to the Super Bowl, but how about a second? That’s what on the line Sunday when the Miami Dolphins roll into town. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans aren’t too worried, picking the Falcons to win.
There’s good reason for confidence on the Atlanta side. The Dolphins have the NFL’s worst offense, and that likely won’t be enough against a Falcons team capable of scoring plenty of points. The only real cause for concern: Falcons receiver Julio Jones is dealing with a hip flexor injury, though he says he plans to play. His effectiveness — or lack thereof — may go a long way toward shaping Miami’s chances in this game.
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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 is massively confident in Atlanta, picking them with a whopping 95 percent collective brainpower behind the high confidence pick. That’s close to the highest we’ve seen all season.
Adding a huge 11.5-point spread, though, is enough to scare the hive mind, as they drop to a low confidence pick with a low 69 percent brainpower behind it. Some of the dissenters are just pulling for Atlanta with high confidence, but there’s a sizeable Miami contigent that thinks the Dolphins can at least keep this to within 11 points.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.