The Minnesota Vikings have the number two spot in the NFC playoffs and a first-round bye all but sewn up. But there’s a still a chance for them to fall, and the first step is the Chicago Bears springing a serious upset. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Vikings will win Sunday.
If the Vikings do emerge victorious, their 13-3 record clinches the second spot behind the Philadelphia Eagles, who have already won the NFC. But a loss and a 12-4 finish opens up a narrow path for the Carolina Panthers to jump all the way from number five in the standings and grab the top spot if they beat the Atlanta Falcons… and the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams both fall. That’s all astonishingly unlikely, given the quality of the teams involved and the fact that only the Rams have no incentive to play to win their game, but still! If Mitch Trubisky and the Bears want to make a season-ending statement, spoiling their division rival’s fun is a seriously good way to do it.
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 an English Premier League slate earlier this season.
The hive mind predicts the Vikings will win with high confidence and 95 percent brainpower.
The swarm predicts the Vikings win by seven to nine points, with 79 percent brainpower behind that choice. The Vegas line favors the Vikings by still more at 11.5 points.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.