UNU: the new Wildcard in the world of Sports Forecasting

First, there was football – pitting the nation’s toughest men against each other in contests so violent they could only be held once a week.  Then, there was betting on football – industries sprouted up to allow spectators to wager hard-earned money on which of the violent men would emerge victorious. And, finally, there were experts on football – personalities like Jimmy the Greek made picks on national TV, and ESPN now dedicates an entire website to Nate Silver and his complex methods of “forecasting” outcomes.

But, what do the experts know that the average person doesn’t? 

To find out, researchers have been pitting normal sports fans against the so-called experts in predicting everything from the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup, to the College Football Playoffs and the NFL playoffs.

But, there’s a fascinating twist – the average fans made their predictions together, as a unified intelligence, using a new form of A.I. called Swarm Intelligence.  Joining from Reddit, Fark, and message boards across the internet, these average sports fans came together in an experimental software platform called UNU that allows them to merge their knowledge, insights, intuitions, and gut instincts, testing the old saying – many minds are better than one.

How can a group of sports fans from Reddit make a single prediction together?  They form a “human swarm” that can negotiate in real time, converging on a solution.  Here is a swarm of 26 people predicting an upcoming game:

Chiefs by 7 over Texans

The amazing thing is that UNU swarms have been beating the experts.  For example, over the last few weeks swarms forecasted the College Football Playoffs, beating the predictions made by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and even the renowned FiveThirtyEight.  Who did they predict to win it all?  Alabama, and that was before any games were played!

Now, the Swarm has set its sights on the NFL Playoffs.  With the Panthers recently suffering their first loss of the year, the Patriots riddled with injuries, and a number of teams peaking at the right time, we’re set for an exciting end to the NFL season.

NFC - Carolina to SB

For the record, a 30 person group using UNU this morning made the following predictions:

Swarms are showing they can tap our Collective Intelligence in an incredible new way, but they aren’t magic. UNU simply lets the true wisdom of the group shine through.  So, if you’re a sports fan who wants to contribute to predictions, the swarm could use your insights. And, let’s show the so-called experts that we, the people, know a thing or two about football!

Want to help us make new predictions?  Great – just fill out the form below and we’ll email you invites when swarms are forming to predict upcoming events like the Superbowl, political primaries, even the Oscars…    I’s fun, free, and totally anonymous.