The last remaining member of the Legion of Boom left active service after a leg injury sidelined all-universe safety Earl Thomas in last week’s tilt against the bottom-feeding Cardinals. As the saying goes, 2/3rds of the earth is covered by water; the rest was covered by Earl Thomas. After an acrimonious contract dispute with the Seahawks and preseason holdout, Thomas did not go gentle into that good night, sending some parting unfriendly fire by blasting a freedom rocket at his own team’s sideline as he left the field on the cart. Rage against the dying of the light, indeed. By “holding in” and suiting up for games while sitting out of many practices in the hope of remaining healthy and securing a lucrative, long-term deal this coming offseason, Thomas essentially bet on himself and lost, because an NFL season is a savage war of attrition and fate is full of cruel whimsy. As Robert Frost once wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” Poetry!
We wish Mr. Thomas a speedy recovery and better fortune elsewhere. For the love of God, please someone pay that man piles of money, because he is worth it, and the NFL is less fun to watch in his absence.
To recap: Richard Sherman signed with the rival 49ers last offseason after suffering an Achilles injury during Thursday Night Football last season. Kam Chancellor retired after suffering in a neck injury in the same game. And now, no Earl.
So on the one hand, we have an undefeated Rams offense that the talking heads are comparing to the Greatest Show on Turf and which has been carpet-bombing the entire NFL thus far this season. On the other, we have DangeRuss, the immortal SeaBass (who apparently has kicked an 82-yard field goal, NBD), and the raucous confines of CenturyLink Field, but also a depleted Seahawks secondary composed of unproven young pups. Into the gaping void left by Thomas’s injury steps Tedric “T2” Thompson, who may actually have to be a liquid-steel Terminator to have any chance of providing similar production.
To predict the result of this Week 5 match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. About 30 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.
Goodnight, Boom. (Commemorative T-shirt here, courtesy of Breaking T. We hardly knew ye. Rams 30, Seahawks 21.
The Rams play the Seahawks at 4:25 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.
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.”