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AI platform picks Putin as Person of the Year

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin on Time’s cover? It could happen, based on the prediction from Unanimous AI. (Kremlin / MagazineYourself Photoillustration)

The guessing game has already begun for Time’s Person of the Year pick, and according to a Silicon Valley company called Unanimous AI, Russian President Vladimir Putin is favored to follow in the footsteps of President Donald Trump.

To reach that conclusion, Unanimous uses a hybrid of crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence that it calls “Swarm AI.” The company assembles a group of about 40 folks who are familiar with the topic at hand, and then uses software to guide them through an iterative process of ranking and eliminating prospects.

The computer-aided tug of opinions eventually focuses the swarm on a single choice. The process has been known to outperform movie critics when it comes to predicting Oscar winners. And last year, Unanimous AI correctly anticipated Trump’s selection as Person of the Year (although that seems to be an obvious choice in retrospect).

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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