March Madness: Will Kentucky Make the Sweet Sixteen? A.I. Predicts

Kentucky Men's Basketball

The Kentucky Wildcats held off upset-minded Davidson Wildcats in the first round. Now they face another double-digit-seed upstart in the form of the Buffalo Bulls. Who will advance?

The 13-seeded Bulls already made short work of yet another Wildcats squad when they blew out four-seed Arizona in the opening round. Now they aim to end the tourney dreams of another college basketball blue blood and be the seventh 13 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

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, the swarm predicted Arizona, not Buffalo, would reach this round. In that now hypothetical matchup, you can see just how much of a toss-up the swarm saw it as, finally picking Arizona with low confidence and a dangerously low 63 percent brainpower. Buffalo embarrassed that same Arizona team, but surely the Bulls aren’t normally as good as either elite Wildcats squad, right? Right?

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 5:15 p.m. on CBS.

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