The Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos have both been playoff mainstays in the AFC, yet they now find their seasons close to officially lost. Who will emerge victorious and keep a slim hope alive of turning things around? A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Broncos will win Sunday.
The Bengals and Broncos took very different paths to this point. Cincinnati got off to a dreadful 0-3 start, scraped together a few weeks of competent play to clamber back toward .500, and has since looked like they are ready to fall apart completely. The Broncos, by contrast, got off to a promising start before quarterback Trevor Siemian regressed, with former start Brock Osweiler making his return last week.
Subscribe to the Inverse newsletter. Trust us, we’re from the future.
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. About 30 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 likes Denver to win here, though with only low confidence and 79 percent brainpower behind the prediction.
The swarm takes its time to make up its mind on the margin of victory, ultimately predicting Denver will win by four to six points, though the 73 percent brainpower is on the low side. Vegas favors Denver by only 2.5 points.
The game kicks off 4:25 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.