March Madness: Will Gonzaga Beat Ohio State? A.I. Predicts

Torrey Vail, Gonzaga Athletics

The Gonzaga Bulldogs almost saw their tournament dreams go up in smoke against an upset-minded UNC-Greensboro squad. After escaping a first round shocker, can last year’s national championship finalists move on to the Sweet Sixteen?

To do that, fourth-seeded Gonzaga must beat the five seed in Ohio State, which also had its hands full with the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Neither team dominated in its opener, so does that mean both teams can reset back to their regular season success in the second round meeting? A hive mind of fans predicts who wins.

To predict the result of this and other games, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the bracket. 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.

Picking before the tournament began, the swarm clearly likes Gonzaga, though what looked like a high confidence pick turned into a low confidence prediction, with 82 percent of the hive mind’s collective brainpower behind it. There’s a little trepidation around Gonzaga, something their opening game has justified.

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 Saturday at 7:45 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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