March Madness: Will Michigan Make the Final Four? A.I. Predicts

Three players from the Michigan basketball team celebrating a win on the court
Michigan Basketball on Facebook

The three seed Michigan Wolverines won ugly in their opener, won at the last moment in their second game, and then absolutely stomped a good Texas A&M Aggies team to make the Sweet Sixteen. Are they ready to make the last leap and reach the Final Four?

To do that, they must defeat an unlikely opponent in the Florida State Seminoles, who beat the top seed Xavier Musketeers and last year’s tourney runner-up in Gonzaga to make it to the Elite Eight. The last notable time these two schools met was

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.

Picking before the tournament, the swarm predicted Gonzaga would prevail instead of Florida State. Does that mean the smart pick here is to go with the team the swarm figured would at least make it this far — Michigan — or the one that beat the team the hive mind was fully behind — Florida State?

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 on CBS.

Related Tags