Both the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans won last Sunday after tough opening week losses. And… that’s about the end of the similarities, really, with a hive mind of more than 30 NFL fans confident the Patriots are going to win big Sunday.
After getting blown out by Kansas City Chiefs on the season’s opening night, New England regrouped nicely with a 36-20 win over the New Orleans Saints. The Texans, on the other hand, had to grit out a 13-9 squeaker over a Cincinnati Bengals team that fired its offensive coordinator after the game. These teams both come in 1-1, but that’s about where the parallels end, give or take the fact Houston coach Bill O’Brien is a former New England assistant.
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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. More than 40 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 Lloyd 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.
The swarm has zero doubt that New England is going to win this one, putting a massive 96 percent of its collective brainpower behind a highly confident pick for the Patriots to win.
That said, 13 points is a huge spread, so it’s unsurprising the swarm isn’t nearly as confident the Patriots will cover. Just 70 percent of the hive mind’s collective brain power is behind that choice, with plenty thinking Houston can keep the margin to 12 points or fewer.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.