With some help from human intelligence.
Unanimous AI was challenged by reporters at Modern Trader magazine to use its Swarm AI to predict the president’s rating at the end of his first milestone in office. The machine correctly came up with the historically low figure of 42 percent—the same result presented by the latest ABC News/Washington Post polls.
Not every outlet came up with the same approval rating for Trump’s first 100 days. The CNN/ORC poll gave the president a 44 percent approval rating, while Gallup puts it at an even lower 41 percent. The AI was able to accurately predict these results despite recent presidents’ ratings being around 60 percent after the same amount of time in office.
The company uses swarm intelligence for what it calls ‘artificial’ artificial intelligence. Swarm intelligence is a method of amplifying a group’s intelligence by pooling together individual thoughts, opinions, ideas, and insights. Unanimous AI often relates this idea to how ants or bees work together to become a unified system that is stronger than its individual parts.
The process is fairly simple. Users log in to Unanimous AI’s UNU system and contribute their ideas to the swarm intelligence by answering a series of questions. This could be about anything from Oscar winners to presidential election results. Swarm AI gathers those results, links them together, and fills in the gaps. Even though the AI makes the predication, it is human intelligence that forms the foundation for how those results are reached.
Unanimous AI has made sure to highlight the subtle differences between its method and standard polling. Instead of being asked to answer a question definitively using a best guess, the UNU platform asks users to describe their confidence in each of the given answer choices. They do this by dragging a puck from the center of their screen to answers laid out in a surrounding vector. The AI then determines the choice people collectively feel most confident in.
Imagine 10 people were asked who they thought would win the 2018 World Cup: USA or Germany. If six people said the USA and four said Germany then a poll would predict America as the winner. Now imagine those people used the UNU platform and everyone who chose the USA was unsure of their vote, while the four who chose Germany were extremely confident. In this case, Unanimous AI might give the cup to Germany.
This isn’t the first time Swarm AI has seen into the future. It also accurately predicted the presidential primaries, World Series, Kentucky Derby, Oscars, Grammys, and Super Bowl XLV.
Some of us may fear that AI will eventually take over humankind. Let Swarm AI be a reminder that machines are only as good as the humans behind them— and we’re pretty damn good.
Clarification 12:25pm CT, May 2: It’s worth noting that Unanimous AI’s spot-on prediction of Trump’s approval rating was made before he even assumed office, in early January.