March Madness: Will Michigan State Beat Bucknell? A.I. Predicts

The Michigan State Spartans are perennial contenders to win it all, but they also have recently experienced the sting of a shocking first round upset. They look to avoid a repeat of their shocking 2016 loss to Middle Tennessee State when they take on the Bucknell Bison.

Do the 14-seeded Bison stand any real shot against legendary coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans? A hive mind of fans has its own prediction for what will happen when the two teams meet.

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 predicts that Michigan State will come out on top with high confidence. This forecast was made with 92 percent of the hive mind’s brainpower, meaning that this result is almost close to a dead certainty.

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 Friday at 7:10 p.m. Eastern in Detroit on CBS.

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