Study shows Swarm AI technology Amplifies the Intelligence of Business Teams

California Polytechnic State University and Unanimous AI  presented a new study today showing that business teams, when connected by AI algorithms that enable them to make decisions together as a “hive mind,” achieved significantly higher accuracy on a standard intelligence test than individuals alone. The technology used is called Swarm AI and it empowers networked teams, connected over the internet, to combine their individual insights in real-time, using AI algorithms to converge on optimal solutions.

As presented at the IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Industries (ai4i 2018), the study tasked 60 small teams with taking a standard social intelligence test known as “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” (RME).  The RME test was employed because prior studies have shown it to be a strong predictor of team effectiveness and overall collective intelligence of working groups.  As individuals, the participants averaged 68% accuracy on the RME test.  But, when working together as an AI-powered “hive mind,” the teams averaged 85% accuracy, demonstrating a significant improvement. In addition, the average team, when connected by AI, outperformed 93% of all the individuals.

Fig 1.  When working as a Swarm AI system, the Average Error dropped by 48%

“This is an exciting result,” said Dr Lynn Metcalf, Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Orfalea College of Business at California Polytechnic State University. “It suggests that business teams can be significantly more effective at making group decisions if they work together, connected by Swarm AI algorithms.”

Swarm AI technology connects distributed human teams into real-time intelligent systems modeled after swarms in nature, emulating the way birds flock, fish school, and bees swarm to amplify their collective intelligence. In layman’s terms, the technology builds a real-time “hive mind” over a communication network, moderated by AI algorithms, to combine the group’s knowledge, wisdom, insights, and intuition into an optimized output.  Swarm AI technology was recently named “Best AI Technology” and “Best in Show” at the 2018 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival’s prestigious Innovation Awards.


Fig 2.  Swarm AI system converges on Optimal Answer in real-time.

“When it comes to decision-making technologies, most uses of AI are aimed at replacing people with algorithms,” said Dr. David Askay, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at California Polytechnic State University.  “What is most exciting about this study is that we’re not replacing people – we’re keeping them in the loop, using AI to optimize their knowledge, wisdom, and collective intelligence in real-time.”

The published paper references many potential applications of Swarm AI technology for use among business teams, from making optimized decisions to more accurately forecasting how consumers will react to marketing messaging, product features, or sales tactics.  Future research is currently ongoing as a collaboration between California Polytechnic State University and Unanimous AI, exploring the potential benefits.

“We’ve seen Swarm AI technology be extremely effective at amplifying the intelligence of large groups,” said Dr. Louis Rosenberg, CEO and Chief Scientist at Unanimous AI and former Cal Poly Professor, “but this study is the first to explore the use among small teams.  The results were stronger than we expected, opening many new business applications.”

Read the study HERE

About Unanimous AI:
Unanimous AI is a Silicon Valley company that has pioneered Swarm AI® technology, a new form of AI that combines real-time human insights and AI algorithms modeled after natural swarms. In 2018, Swarm AI technology won “AI Innovation of the Year” at the SXSW Innovation Awards. For more on Unanimous, visit

About Cal Poly

Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 22,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives. For more information, visit

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