Predicting A Better Future With Swarm Intelligence  

Have you put a bet on the FIFA World Cup?  If yes, the chances are you’ve made a pretty educated guess, right? You know which team has the strongest players or most favourable odds. Or maybe you’ve put some cash on your country’s team, (which normally I’d avoid England, but given their recent performance, I could be wrong to!)

Either way, you might be best casting your bets in line with San Francisco based Unanimous AI. They use a technology called Swarm AI – algorithms modelled on swarms in nature that amplifies human intelligence. By using human intelligence and artificial intelligence together, they can predict outcomes better than humans or AI acting alone.

Schools of fish, colonies of ants, swarms of bees, flocks of birds all use an intelligence system and are smarter together in order to navigate the natural world. They act in feedback loops, also called a hive mind or swarm intelligence that is found in many social species. This gives them a heightened intelligence, and Unanimous AI have replicated this using AI and human intelligence in order to carry out services for businesses like market research, analysis, forecasting and strategic insights.

Use the intelligence of groups, in a contracted hive mind online with AI algorithms to find the best outcomes.

You may well be a bit sceptical, but Unanimous AI has successfully used their technology to predict other sporting events. They defied 542-1 odds and predicted the annual Kentucky Derby’s top four winning horses in the exact order in 2016. Seeing the potential, there is now a partnership between Churchill Downs and Twin Spires, using the predictions from Unanimous AI to form a pool for people to bet on their ‘super expert’ forecast. How did they do this? To form the predictions, they took 20 horse racing enthusiasts and connecting them online, they could ‘think together’ to predict the winners. The swarm intelligence would drive the predictions to different horses, amplified by the AI technology… and ended up being completely correct! Looking back at the research, out of the 20, no individual got all four horses correct, but as a swarm, they predicted all horses correctly.

They’ve also successfully predicted the Super Bowl using a swarm of 40 football fans connected by AI algorithms. In 2017, they called that the Patriots would win even down to the score (28-34).  That is no mean feat! Countless people and organisations have tried over the years to predict the Super Bowl, but as noted in this ESPN article, only two predictions out of 1641 final score predictions by Scripps Howard have been correct. It’s not just sports, they’ve predicted the Oscar Winners with a 94% accuracy, and TIME’s Person of The Year amongst other things.

Here we are in the throes of the World Cup, and they’ve put out their predictions again. Using a swarm of 30 experts made up of football handicappers and observers from the UK, the US and New Zealand, they found the following to be the most favourable outcomes.

Unanimous AI World Cup Sports Prediction
Table credit: Unanimous AI,

It’s all well and good predicting entertainment, sports or political events but, where could this technology really take us? What applications for good could this have?

At the SXSW Interactive Festival, they built up a swarm of 70 people, using their Swarm AI algorithms they were asked a number of questions on topics about UN Sustainable Development goals to find out what the highest priority one would be. Being able to gauge what a population of people think are the most important issues could allow us to not only gain better insight into where resources should be spent but also what people care most about and tailor approaches to tackle these.

The Hive Mind’s collective response was ‘universal access to clean drinking water’ to be the number one priority for the UN. It’s interesting that in August 2017, Unanimous AI also used Twitter suggestions answering Jeff Bezos’ question on how he should spend his fortune, with access to clean water coming out on top then too. Animals of all kinds can solve extremely complex problems using the hive mind and this type of amplification. Humans don’t have this naturally but with Swarm AI technology, we now have this at our disposal.

Looking to a future with Artificial Intelligence power and Human Intelligence power working together, we could truly have the tools to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time.


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