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AI System Beats Vegas at Sports Forecasting

20-week study shows that combination of human insight and AI processing can beat Vegas

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Researchers today presented the first long-term study showing that an AI-powered system can outperform Vegas betting markets over an extended period. The system used in this research generated predictions for 200 NHL hockey games over a 20-week period during the 2017-18 season.  While the Vegas oddsmakers proved 55% accurate in forecasting winners across those 200 games, the Swarm AI system achieved 61% accuracy across those same games.  Furthermore, when using a simulated wagering protocol that placed equal bets on the Swarm AI predictions, the system yielded a +22% return on investment (ROI) across the 200 games.  In addition, the system generated a “pick of the week” for each of the 20 weeks, achieving 85% accuracy and yielding 170% ROI. These results are described in a paper presented today in Cambridge, England at the IEEE Developments in eSystems Engineering Conference (DeSE 2018).

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The technology, developed by Unanimous AI of San Francisco, CA employs a unique combination of real-time human input and AI algorithms that are modeled after swarms in nature.  In this study, it operated by collecting input from 25 to 35 average sports fans in real-time, using intelligence algorithms to optimize their combined their knowledge, wisdom, insights, and intuitions.  Known as Swarm AI, the technology has enabled accurate forecasts across a wide range of applications, from sports and politics to financial markets.  This new study, however, is a milestone, as it demonstrates the ability to outperform Vegas betting markets over an extended period.

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Swarm Intelligence, the science behind Swarm AI technology, is the reason why birds flock, bees swarm, and fish school – they are smarter together than alone. Across countless species, nature shows us that by forming closed-loop systems, groups can produce insights that greatly exceed the abilities of any individual member.  While humans have not evolved this ability naturally, Swarm AI technology enables this artificially, allowing groups to amplify their intelligence by forming real-time swarms.

“The results of this study are extremely promising,” said Gregg Willcox, Director of Research at Unanimous AI and a co-author on the sports forecasting paper.  “And while it’s fun to predict sports, we are currently applying the same techniques to a wide variety of other domains, including financial forecasting, business forecasting, and medical diagnosis, all with positive results.”

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