Who Will Win Bears vs. Lions? A.I. Predicts

A swarm was divided over how strongly they felt that Chicago would win this one.

by T.E. Andrews
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Georgia} Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Turkey Day starts off with a whimper in this lopsided matchup between the Bears and the Lions. If at all possible, try and discuss politics with your in-laws or ask your cousin about that sweet new app he’s developing during this uninspired hors d’oeuvre - this is the perfect game to throw on in the background. Get the pleasantries out of the way early, as there are more important football games later in the day.

After last week’s win over the would-be-usurpers Minnesota Vikings, Chicago reigns as the current King in the (NFC) North (with apologies to Jon Snow). Da Bears have won four in a row by picking off the weaklings and stragglers from the NFL herd (with victories over the Jets, Bills, and Lions) prior to last Sunday’s game against the competent-but-not-elite Vikings. The feasting continues with this second game against the sad-sack Lions before another likely romp against the Giants next week.

Meanwhile, the Lions, being the Lions, have compiled a 4-6 record, good for last place in the division. The team shipped out longtime star receiver Golden Tate to the Eagles, and to make matters worse, Kerryon “My Wayward Son” Johnson (you heard it here first) sprained his knee during Detroit’s surprising win over the Panthers last week. The good news is Mr. Johnson won’t require knee surgery and is week-to-week, but the bad news is we won’t get to see him play on Thanksgiving. In the meantime, we wish Kerryon a speedy recovery. There’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest – don’t you cry no more. Guitar solo!

Handicapping this game is easy: the Bears have Khalil Mack, and the Lions do not. The Mack Truck has unleashed a campaign of terror across the NFL after the Raiders traded him to the Windy City earlier this season, and routinely shoves around 300-pound offensive linemen as though they were tackling dummies. Bears 23, Lions 13, is my prediction, but how did a swarm of NFL experts working as a hive-mind predict the outcome of this Week 12 matchup?

To predict the result of this Week 12 match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence. Some 33 NFL enthusiasts worked together as a hive mind to make their prediction. As you can see in the animation below, each participant controlled a golden magnet and used it to drag the puck toward the result they thought was the most likely outcome. This is where it gets interesting: As a user sees the puck move toward a particular decision, it triggers a psychological response. They might readjust their thinking as the group builds toward a consensus. It’s an artificial intelligence, produced by human brains, working together as a swarm.

As you can see in the animation above, the swarm chose the option of Chicago: Low Confidence as its likely outcome for this Thanksgiving Day match-up. Notably, a few experts seemed to be pulling toward the Chicago: High Confidence option before forming a consensus toward Low Confidence. The bad news for Detroit Lions fans is that only a few in the hive-mind set out thinking that Detroit may actually win this one.

The Bears play at the Lions at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Thursday on CBS.

Here’s how Unanimous A.I. has predicted previous NFL games this season.

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:

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

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