March Madness: Will Rhode Island Beat Oklahoma? A.I. Predicts

Star guard Trae Young pushed the Oklahoma Sooners to a 15-2 start before a 4-11 collapse in the season’s back half saw them relegated to a 10 seed. Can the Sooners pull it together with a win in the first round?

The seven-seeded Rhode Island Rams are the near opposite of the Sooners, lacking the singular talent of a player like Young and making it this far mostly on grinding and gritting out wins seemingly above their talent level. It’s an intriguing matchup, and a hive mind of college basketball fans has a prediction for 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 forecasts with low confidence that Rhode Island will come out on top in this round. This decision was made using 77 percent of the swarm’s brain power. While the odds are in Rams’ favor, there’s still room for an Oklahoma upset.

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 12:15 p.m. Eastern in Pittsburgh on CBS.

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