The Arizona Cardinals have the oldest set of starters in the NFL, which means they can’t afford to rebuild even after a dispiriting 2-3 start. They aren’t getting any younger with the trade for veteran running back Adrian Peterson, but is he enough to get their season back on track? A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans is doubtful, picking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win in their game Sunday.
While it’s not entirely correct to call Tampa Bay a youth movement — its opening day lineup ranked solidly in the middle of the pack in terms of age — it does have one of the youngest offenses in the NFL, led by third-year quarterback Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers are coming off of a tough loss to the New England Patriots, and both teams need a victory Sunday to stabilize their season.
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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 only prepared to give Tampa Bay a low confidence pick, but there’s a decent amount of the swarm’s collective brainpower — 83 percent — behind the choice. Factor in the dissenters who were pulling toward a high confidence pick, and the vast majority of the swarm appears behind Tampa Bay here.
The addition of the two-point spread if anything pushed the swarm even further toward picking Tampa Bay, with the hive mind seemingly splitting the difference between a high and low confidence pick before settling on the latter.
The game kicks off 4:05 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.