The Carolina Panthers bring one of the league’s best defenses and a rapidly improving offense to play the New York Jets, who have neither a very good offense nor a very good defense. Unless you really believe in the mystique of the Meadowlands, this is a tough one for New York. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Panthers will win Sunday.
The Panthers haven’t quite grabbed attention like their 7-3 record would seem to deserve. Perhaps it’s that two of their losses have come to the obvious teams above them in the NFC pecking order: a 28-23 loss to the league-best Philadelphia Eagles and a 34-13 shellacking to their division rivals, the then winless New Orleans Saints, that kicked off the Saints’ eight-game winning streak. New York, for its part, has lost four of its last five games after a surprisingly promising start to the season, so they’re just hoping for a shock upset. Given Carolina’s other loss was a head-scratcher to the Chicago Bears, it’s not impossible.
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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. 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 swarm appeared split between picking the Panthers with high or low confidence, ultimately opting for the latter. There’s 84 percent brainpower behind the pick.
The swarm picks the Carolina Panthers to win by four to six points, with 80 percent brainpower behind that prediction. The Panthers are favored by 4.5 points in Vegas.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.