March Madness: Will Kentucky Beat Davidson? A.I. Predicts

It’s Wildcats versus Wildcats as Kentucky, college basketball’s ultimate blue blood — give or take Duke, we guess — goes up against underdog Davidson.

Kentucky hasn’t quite been up to its usual juggernaut standards, nabbing a five seed after winning the Southeastern Conference tournament, but John Calipari’s squads have been known to go on deep tourney runs even without ultra-elite talent, as seen most recently in 2014. Davidson, for its part, is hoping for a repeat of the magic that Steph Curry — you may have heard of him — engineered a decade ago when he led the team to the Elite Eight. A hive mind of fans predicts who will win.

To predict the result of this and other games, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. About 50 college basketball fans worked together as a hive mind to make picks. As you can see in the animation below, each participant controlled a little golden magnet and used it to drag the puck toward the answer they thought was the most likely outcome. As the users saw the puck move toward a particular outcome, it triggers a psychological response. They readjust their decision-making, building toward a consensus.

Unanimous A.I.

The hive mind gives this win to Kentucky with high confidence. This was determined by 92 percent of the swarm’s brainpower, which makes it almost certain that the Wildcats will move on to another round.

Read more from Inverse: The Perfect NCAA Bracket Is A.I.’s Biggest Sports Challenge Yet

Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our previous article explains. For instance, the swarm picked this year’s Oscar winners with 94 percent accuracy. Here’s Unanimous A.I. founder Louis Rosenberg explaining swarm intelligence at a recent TEDx Talk.

The game tips off Thursday at 7:10 p.m. Eastern in Boise, Idaho on CBS.

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