March Madness: Will Duke Beat Syracuse? A.I. Predicts

Duke Men's Basketball

It’s a match-up of two of college basketball’s elite powers when the Duke Blue Devils and the Syracuse Orange meet in the Sweet Sixteen. Only difference is how they got here: The second-seeded Blue Devils rolled in consecutive routs, while the 11 seed Orange have won their three games by a combined 11 points.

Though Syracuse has a lofty reputation, this is the second time in three years it was one of the last teams selected for the tournament — the very last team this year, in fact — and proceeded to make noise. They reached the Final Four in 2016 starting from the play-in game, and can they repeat that trick by dispatching Duke and moving onto the Elite Eight? A hive mind of fans predicts.

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 likes Duke to win this one with high confidence and 90 percent brainpower behind the pick. It’s not looking good for the Orange.

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 Friday at 9:37 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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