The Atlanta Falcons need to win to assure themselves of a return trip to the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers have an outside shot at a first-round bye with a victory. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Panthers will win Sunday.
The Falcons’ loss last week to the New Orleans Saints knocked them out of the race for the NFC South crown and removed their last bit of slack in the race for the NFC’s final playoff spot. While they can back in if the Seattle Seahawks also lose, a victory assures the Falcons a chance to repeat as Super Bowl challengers. The Panthers, meanwhile, can make it all the way to the number two seed and a first-round bye if they win and everything else breaks right, which includes losses for the Saints, Los Angeles Rams, and Minnesota Vikings. It’s a big ask, but given final week weirdness, not a totally impossible one.
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 swarm picks the Panthers to win, albeit with low confidence and 76 percent brainpower behind the prediction.
The hive mind predicts the Panthers will win by four to six points, though with a low 72 percent brainpower behind the pick. The Vegas line has the Falcons by four points.
The game kicks off 4:25 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.