March Madness: Will Kansas Beat Penn? A.I. Predicts

Kansas Athletics

The Kansas Jayhawks won a mind-melting 14th straight Big 12 championship to earn a number one seed. Their reward? Possibly the strongest 16th seed of all time in the form of the Penn Quakers.

There has never been a 16-over-1 upset in the history of the men’s tournament, but can the Ivy League champs become the first ever to pull off the March Madness to end all March Madness? A hive mind of fans has a prediction.

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 swarm isn’t swayed by Penn’s impressive resume — or perhaps it’s just too mindful of Kansas’s considerably more impressive resume. The hive mind picks Kansas to win with high confidence and 90 percent collective brainpower, which is pretty much a lock.

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 on Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern in Wichita, Kansas on TBS.

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