March Madness: Will Duke Beat Iona? A.I. Predicts

Duke Athletics

The Duke Blue Devils are a trendy pick to win it all in this year’s edition of March Madness. But they have also been known for some incredible first-round flameouts, including upsets to 15-seed Lehigh in 2012 and 14-seed Mercer in 2014.

The 15-seeded Iona Gaels are looking to repeat those particular chapters of Duke history with another shocking upset, but can they do it? A hive mind of fans makes its 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 likes Duke to win with high confidence and a whopping 96 percent brainpower. That’s pretty uch 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 2:45 p.m. Eastern in Pittsburgh on CBS.

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