March Madness: Will Purdue Beat Butler? A.I. Predicts

John Fetcho/Butler Bulldogs on Facebook

It’s a battle of Indiana teams as the Purdue Boilermakers and the Butler Bulldogs meet in the second round. Separated by little more than an hour’s drive, the two teams vie for Hoosier State supremacy and a Sweet Sixteen berth.

Both teams looked good in their opening games, with second-seeded Purdue routing Cal State Fullerton and the Bulldogs doing the same to the seventh-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks. 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 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 really likes Purdue here, picking them with high confidence and 84 percent brainpower behind the choice.

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 Sunday at 12:10 p.m. on CBS.

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