Who Wins Ravens at Steelers? A.I. Predicts

Expect big hits, cheap shots, and another good, old-fashioned rock fight.

by T.E. Andrews
Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire

Dysfunction has thrown the Steelers, normally one of the more stable and reliable NFL franchises, into chaos. After getting franchise-tagged by Pittsburgh for the second year in a row, running back Le’Veon Bell has played a game of keep-away this season, sitting out all three games thus far in an effort to save wear and tear on his body — all in the hopes of landing a better deal next offseason. He may not report to the team until November, if he reports at all.

The discontent has reportedly spread to all-world receiver Antonio Brown, who missed a day of practice two weeks ago and tweeted “trade me” (since deleted) after a former Steelers employee suggested that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was responsible for his success. This leaves Big Ben himself, who has seen his name splashed across headlines in recent weeks in connection with lurid tales involving our president and Stormy Daniels, as the eye of the hurricane. Despite all the off-field drama, Pittsburgh still has everything to play for.

The Ravens, for their part, sandwiched two wins over the Bills and Broncos around a loss to the Bengals, and remain thoroughly unremarkable. Mediocre Joe Flacco remains the quarterback for what feels like the 30th consecutive season, and Baltimore appears primed for another nondescript 7-9 or 9-7 season. Discretion is the better part of valor here: a rivalry game like this one is another coin flip. Don’t be a hero, keep your powder dry, and stay away. Expect big hits, cheap shots, and another good, old-fashioned rock fight. I’ll give the Steelers the slight nod at home. My best guess is Steelers 24, Ravens 17, but how did a hive-mind of NFL experts predict this one?

To predict the result of this Week 4 match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. About 35 NFL enthusiasts 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 decision, it triggered a psychological response. They readjusted their decision-making, building toward the consensus you see below. It’s an artificial intelligence produced by human brains working together as a swarm.

As you can see above, a hive-mind of 35 NFL experts have chosen Pittsburgh to win this Sunday night game at home.

The Ravens play at the Steelers at 8:20 p.m. Eastern Sunday on NBC.

Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our this article explains. For instance, the swarm picked this year’s Oscar winners with 94 percent accuracy. Here’s Unanimous A.I. founder Louis Rosenberg explaining swarm intelligence at a recent TEDx Talk:

In related news, Unanimous A.I. recently presented a scientific study of its ability to forecast games in the National Hockey League. In a 200-game, 20-week-long study of its Swarm AI in the NHL, it was able to easily outperform Las Vegas expectations, and its “Pick of the Week” was right 85 percent of the time, producing a 170 percent ROI. The paper, titled “Artificial Swarm Intelligence versus Vegas Betting Markets,” was presented at the at the IEEE Developments in eSystems Engineering Conference (DeSE 2018) this month at Downing College in Cambridge, England. In a press release issued with the study, co-author Gregg Wilcox says the technology can be applied to matters outside sports, too. “While it’s fun to predict sports, we are currently applying the same techniques to a wide variety of other domains, including financial forecasting, business forecasting, and medical diagnosis, all with positive results.”

Want to join the hive mind that picks NFL matches every week? Sign up to participate in future predictions.

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