Can Swarm Intelligence predict the Olympic winners?

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It may be dangerous in other contexts, but group-think in the context of Swarm Intelligence tends to be pretty accurate. Following Unanimous AI’s previous success with making predictions around events like the Oscars and the Super Bowl, the company is back at it, this time with the Olympics. Using UNU, the artificial intelligence-based platform that allows groups to put their heads together to come up with predictions (also known as swarm intelligence), a group of eight elite swimmers has created what Unanimous calls a “super swarm” to make predictions about this year’s results in the pool. 

While the swarm is smaller than many of those normally used by Unanimous to make their predictions, the qualifications of these eight elite swimmers lends additional credence to their hunches. With a number of national team members and Olympic Trial competitors, Unanimous claims that this latest swarm is “basically a ‘super-expert’ that taps the collective intelligence of genuine experts.”  

So what do they think?

When asked how many gold medals Michael Phelps would win this go-around, the swarm thinks the magic number is 3. As far as the total number of gold medals Team USA will win in the pool, the experts predict somewhere between 15 and 19.

The swarm seems pretty confident in a few Australian swimmers, predicting that someone from down under will win the 100M and 200M backstroke (Mitchell Larkin) and the 100M freestyle (Cameron McEvoy). Australia’s team is also favored to win the 4x100M Free Relay, with the USA slated to come in second, and France to come in third.

Nathan Adrian looks like a strong contender in the freestyle races, according to UNU, while Ryan Murphy seems to be holding down the fort with his backstroke.

So how accurate are these super swarm predictions? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see over the next couple weeks.


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