At one point during the fourth quarter of last week’s game between the Browns and the Raiders, it looked like Cleveland had put the game away. Carlos Hyde ran for a first down, leaving Oakland without any remaining timeouts. Then the refs got involved. A controversial replay call reversed the call on the field, ruling Hyde was short of the first down and forcing the Browns to punt. The Raiders then drove down the field and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to send the game to overtime. The Browns then proceeded to choke in overtime, doing what they do best in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The lesson, as always, is that God hates Cleveland and reserves His most petty Old Testament savagery for that post-industrial wasteland. Call it a deus ref machina for Oakland. A less-deserving entity hasn’t received a bailout this generous since AIG during the Great Recession.
Meanwhile, the Chargers allowed the 49ers to hang around all afternoon and nearly got upset last week, despite the fact that the Niners started backup quarterback C.J. Beatherd, due to Jimmy “GQ” Garroppolo’s season-ending knee injury in Week Three. Which brings us to this game. Hard to get too excited about this one; the Raiders are 1-3 and don’t seem like they deserve even their lone win. The Chargers have two wins over bad teams and two losses to good ones. However, they appear ready for a raucous, hostile crowd inside their own stadium, having prepared for an invasion of silver and black by piping crowd noise into their practices in anticipation of a “home” game in their own stadium. Such are the perils of abandoning your traditional home and fan base to become LA’s second-favorite football team (third, if you count USC). All of this adds up to a sizable pile of “meh.
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.
The AI Swarm likes the Chargers over the Raiders. Why not? A hive mind is better than one. Chargers 30, Raidaz 24. (This pick has nothing to do with the Raiders robbing me of my Browns pick last week.)
The Raiders play at the Chargers at 4:05 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.
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.”