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A group of Globe readers predicted nine of MLB’s 10 playoff teams

The Red Sox won 93 games this season.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Not all predictions are useless.

A group of Boston Globe readers accurately predicted nine of baseball’s 10 playoff teams after participating in a 30-minute online experiment using Unanimous A.I.’s Swarm Intelligence on Aug. 3.

Swarm intelligence harnesses the collective knowledge of a group to yield an answer or outcome. Our baseball swarm answered 20 questions, including predicting the 10 playoff teams. The swarm had 60 seconds to come to a consensus on each question and each question had up to six answers.

The one incorrect prediction was the St. Louis Cardinals, who were eliminated in the final game of the regular season. The swarm correctly predicted four of six division winners, but missed on all four wild card spots, though it still landed on the right combination of teams in each league.


The swarm predicted the Blue Jays — not the Red Sox — would win the AL East and that the Sox would lock up the first wild card spot.

Here is a look at the results of the swarm compared to how things actually turned out:

AL East

Swarm prediction: Toronto

Actual winner: Red Sox

AL Central

Swarm prediction: Cleveland

Actual winner: Cleveland

AL West

Swarm prediction: Texas

Actual winner: Texans

NL East

Swarm prediction: Washington

Actual winner: Washington

NL Central

Swarm prediction: Chicago Cubs

Actual winner: Chicago Cubs

NL West

Swarm prediction: San Francisco

Actual winner: LA Dodgers

First AL Wild Card

Swarm prediction: Boston

Actual winner: Baltimore

Second AL Wild Card

Swarm prediction: Baltimore

Actual winner: Toronto

First NL Wild Card

Swarm prediction: LA Dodgers

Actual winner: NY Mets

Second NL Wild Card

Swarm prediction: St. Louis

Actual winner: San Francisco

There are still some categories the swarm predicted that are not yet decided, such as the league championship and World Series winners as well as season awards. Here is what the swarm predicted for those questions:


ALCS winner: Cleveland

NLCS winner: Chicago Cubs

World Series winner: Chicago Cubs

How many games will the World Series go? 6.

AL Cy Young Award: Cole Hamels

AL MVP: Jose Altuve

AL Manager of Year: Terry Francona

NL Cy Young Award: Stephen Strasburg

NL MVP: Kris Bryant

NL Manager of Year: Joe Maddon

UNU has conducted swarms that included as many as 200 participants and as few as five. A swarm earlier this year predicted the Kentucky Derby superfecta: the first, second, third, and fourth horses in the race. The odds of that? 540-1.

Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.