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

A Michigan player during a basketball match
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The third-seeded Michigan Wolverines edged the Houston Cougars in a 64-63 thriller to make the Sweet Sixteen. Now they face a seven seed Texas A&M Aggies squad that just blew the doors off the defending national champions.

It was easy to lose track of amid the general chaos of the tournament’s opening weekend, but few games were quite as impressive as Texas A&M’s 86-65 dismantling of North Carolina. Which team moves on to the Elite Eight? A hive mind of fans has a prediction.

To predict the result of this and other games, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the bracket. About 60 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 isn’t at all sure who to go with here, ultimately leaning toward Michigan, but only with low confidence and 72 percent brainpower behind the pick.

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 Thursday at 7:27 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

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