March Madness: Will Wichita State Beat Marshall? A.I. Predicts

The Wichita State Shockers have made some deep NCAA tourney runs, including a, well, shocking trip to the Final Four in 2013. To have a chance to make it back there, they will have to defeat the 13-seed Marshall Thundering Herd.

For fans of points — and lots of them — this game ought to be a blast, as both teams come into the match-up with elite offenses and lousy defenses. While it wasn’t asked to guess the potentially sky-high final score, a hive mind of fans does have a prediction as to which team will emerge victorious.

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 75 percent of its brainpower that Wichita State will walk away with the win. The swarm has high confidence this will be the result, but there’s still a chance for Marshall to pull something out of the bag.

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 Friday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern in San Diego on TNT.

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