The Future Impact of A.I. on Sport
A.I. technology not only enhances the experience for the viewing public but also impacts sport itself. Coaches are utilizing A.I. in decision making and training to improve athletic performance. Regardless of whether you're a tennis fan, the ground-breaking use of A.I. at this years Wimbledon marks the start of a shift in how the public view sporting events.
A.I. Powered Highlights at Wimbledom
- Sam Seddon, IBM Sports and Entertainment Sponsorship lead for the U.K., mentioned "What we've created is a system that is incredibly well-versed at understanding tennis from an excitement point of view. That's 'excitement' defined in a way that an A.I. can understand it. We humans may appreciate tennis; the A.I. is looking at the same thing in terms of data." So how can the excitement of a tennis game be broken down into data points that A.I can process?
- The A.I. development team had the task of establishing the elements of what makes an excellent highlight. To build a framework for identifying the exciting moments from matches, the team utilized player reactions, the excitement of the crowd, and on-court actions as data points. A.I. can analyze theses elements and identify the crucial moments of each match. From player gestures to crowd noise, the data points enable A.I. to rank every point of a game in order of excitement and compile those moments into a highlights package.
- Like every A.I. technology project, tackling bias is an issue that must be overcome. While the player's facial expressions could be used as a data point, the unique variations of individual player's reactions could harm accuracy and distort results. Instead, physical gestures like handshakes and arm raises were used as visual recognition data points. This still provides a challenge for technology.
- Without extensive training, the system would struggle to distinguish the difference in significance between two gestures. One could be a crucial moment of a game, the other a mundane and insignificant action.
Forbes, The AI Transformation Of Sports: Wimbledon 2019 Broadcasting, Ilker Koksal, Jul 26, 2019.
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