The Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots face off this Sunday. It’s a replay of last year’s Super Bowl, also known as the single most traumatic moment in Atlanta sports history. And a hive mind of about 30 NFL fans don’t think Falcons fans are going to feel any better after this one, predicting New England will win the rematch.
The Falcons are in the middle of a four-game tour of the AFC East, playing all its teams in succession. It hasn’t gone well so far, dropping consecutive home games to the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins. As much as New England’s defense has struggled so far this season, they are probably a bit better than those teams, and now the Falcons are on the road. Atlanta is going to need to up its game to avoid a third straight loss, basically.
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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 Louis 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 hive mind favors New England here, with the swarm overwhelmingly pulling toward either a high or low confidence pick before settling on the latter. The collective brainpower isn’t high at just 76 percent, but very little of the dissent is behind Atlanta.
The addition of the spread makes this all much less certain, with much more of the swarm pulling for Atlanta. Better to watch the fireworks than to put money down on this one, is the swarm’s basic takeaway.
The game kicks off 8:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday on NBC.