The Detroit Lions are coming out of their bye week looking to snap a two-game losing streak. They couldn’t ask for a much tougher opponent than the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are looking to stake their claim as the AFC’s best with a victory. A hive mind of about 35 NFL fans predicts the Steelers will win Sunday.
When last we saw the Lions, they lost 52-38 to the New Orleans Saints, something that has literally never happened before. They needed the week off to try to get healthier, but they are still looking at a depleted offensive line against a strong Steelers pass rush. Pittsburgh can lose head-scratching games — its overtime loss to the Bears and blowout defeat to the Jaguars are two of the season’s weirdest outcomes — but they have been rounding into form, so the Lions have their work cut out for them.
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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 swarm likes the Steelers to win here, albeit only with low confidence and 78 percent collective brainpower. Most of the dissent wanted to pick the Steelers with high confidence, though, so there’s not a lot of Lions support here.
The addition of the three-point line doesn’t change things too much beyond eliminating most of the high confidence picks. It’s still a low confidence prediction for the Steelers, with a slightly higher 83 percent brainpower behind it.
The game kicks off 8:30 p.m. Eastern Sunday on NBC.