March Madness: Will Texas A&M Beat Providence? A.I. Predicts

The seven-seeded Texas A&M Aggies look to get serious and leave behind a regular season of mild underachievement with a March Madness run. That journey starts with a game against the 10-seed Providence Friars, who had to make a deep run in the Big East tournament just to assure themselves of a tourney berth.

That might not sound like much, but consider this: To reach the Big East finals, the Friars had to beat the Xavier Musketeers, which both the Aggies and Friars are looking up at as the number one seed in the West Regional. A hive mind of fans predicts 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.

This is going to be a close one, folks. The swarm has forecast Texas A&M as the victors of this match up, but just barely. This prediction was made with just 57 percent of the hive’s brain power, which means it’s pretty much a toss-up.

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 12:15 p.m. Eastern in Charlotte, North Carolina on CBS.

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