An AI Is Using Swarm Intelligence to Predict the Ending of 'Game of Thrones'

Thursday, 07 September 2017 - 10:03AM
Game of Thrones
Thursday, 07 September 2017 - 10:03AM
An AI Is Using Swarm Intelligence to Predict the Ending of 'Game of Thrones'
Image credit: HBO
Considering the year-long wait until the final season of Game of Thrones, there's plenty of time for fans of the show to put our heads together and speculate about how everything will wrap up. Season Seven left us with a lot of unanswered questions, tantalizing fan theories, and threads of a complex (and very literal) tapestry that all need to be untangled, but thankfully we have a new way to pool all our thoughts together: a swarm intelligence, moderated by an advanced Game of Thrones AI.



Researchers for a group called Unanimous AI have created a way for large groups of people to cast votes within an AI-organized system that measures certainty and the time it takes to reach a decision, along with the sway that others' opinions hold on each individual member of the group when coming to a final verdict. Essentially, their platform, called UMU, is a Ouija Board controlled digitally by dozens or even hundreds of people, which is judged, monitored, and organized by an AI whose role is to help find common consensus on important questions.

This may sound like sketchy science, but Unanimous AI's swarm intelligence system has correctly predicted the rise of Donald Trump, the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series, and the four top horses in the Kentucky Derby, in the order that they crossed the finish line, at odds of 542:1. So can the same science be applied to Game of Thrones?

Inverse ran a trial inviting Thrones fans to offer their opinions on key plot points for Season Eight, with UMU as the moderator. According to the swarm, while the popular fan theory that Bran Stark is actually the Night King is compelling, it's probably not the case. The group wavered, before ultimately reaching the consensus that this is probably just wishful thinking on the part of Thrones fans.

Similarly, the AI reached the conclusion, based on user input, that the identity of Azor Ahai, the reincarnated Lord of Light, isn't any of the most obvious characters in the show. After wobbling on the idea of Jon Snow unwittingly being Azor Ahai, the hive mind ultimately decided that it would be "someone else". Not necessarily a helpful prediction, but ruling out Jon Snow is significant in itself.

Finally, is Cersei Lannister genuinely pregnant, or is her baby actually just a sneaky ruse in her continued power play? According to the swarm, she's telling the truth—although there is some slight hesitancy in the AI regarding the matter.

It's hard to know how reliable this data will be in practice. Thus far these predictions really only show the most popular theories surrounding Game of Thrones Season Eight, and there's a danger of a self-defeating prophecy here. If a certain answer to a big question is popular enough, the writers of Game of Thrones are more likely to go in another direction, simply to keep audiences on their toes.

Either way, it's interesting to see popular fan theories broken down by an AI and a group of dedicated fans, all connected in a unified hive mind. Perhaps this technology needs to be pointed at Star Wars next, so that we can finally get a solid answer as to Rey's parentage and Snoke's identity in advance of The Last Jedi.
Science Fiction
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Game of Thrones
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