The Los Angeles Chargers have clambered out of their 0-4 hole to reach .500, with a chance to move into a tie for the AFC West lead with a win Sunday. To do that, they have to take down an injury-plagued Washington team with little but pride left to play for. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Chargers will win.
Los Angeles doesn’t have the longest winning streak in the NFL — the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings have both built 10-2 records on the strength of eight straights wins. But to have won six of eight to reach 6-6 after losing their first four games gives them a serious claim as the NFL’s hottest team. In the otherwise lackluster AFC West, their backloaded success makes them the most interesting and dangerous team going, and a win at home against Washington would keep them on track to become only the second team — after 1992’s San Diego Chargers squad — to go from 0-4 to the playoffs.
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 predicts the Chargers will win with high confidence, though there’s only 77 percent brainpower behind the pick.
The swarm likes the Chargers to win this by seven to nine points, with 86 percent brainpower behind that pick. The Vegas line has Los Angeles by six.
The game kicks off 4:05 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.