Artificial Intelligence Takes Over Sports Arenas


If you didn’t think game day could get any better, get ready for robots.

Two tech giants in the field of cognitive technology have recently announced plans to bring artificial intelligence to major international sports events. International Business Machines Corp. will partner with the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which starts July 3, while Intel Corp. will introduce a host of new technologies at the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea.

IBM will exercise a range of its AI abilities throughout the London-based tennis tournament. The company’s signature AI platform, Watson, will help visitors track the most nail-biting matches and automatically tape video highlights of the event, IBM said in a statement. IBM is also rolling out a voice-activated assistant called “Fred,” in a nod to famous British tennis player Fred Perry, to answer visitor questions at the games.

Intel is entering the upper echelons of the sporting stage after announcing a partnership with the International Olympic Committee earlier this month. The company will use its AI platforms, along with drones, virtual reality, and other technologies, to enhance fans’ Olympic game-day experience, according to a press release. An Intel spokesperson declined to comment on specific applications of the company’s AI technologies in the Olympics.

IBM said it plans to talk up the benefits of AI June 28 with members of the Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus, a bipartisan group led by Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Pete Olson (R-Texas). The caucus re-launched for the 115th session last month to educate lawmakers about the economic and social impacts of AI. In a June 27 open letter to Congress, IBM encouraged lawmakers not to inhibit the new technology out of concern about AI’s impact on job loss or potential bias in decision-making.