For quite some time, AI was in the spotlight only for sci-fi lovers. Thanks to the rapid technological innovations and improvements, AI has found its way into many apps regular people use every day. For instance, AI stands behind facial recognition in photos, complex data analysis, artificial face construction, etc. Gaming companies have even used it to make their games more challenging, putting AI in charge of playing against human players.
For AI enthusiasts, this is nothing new. However, the recent developments might surprise even the most AI-savvy - AI has created a sport on its own. In fact, AKQA, a design agency, and Nvidia compiled data on all major sports and fed it to neural networks. The neural networks spat out Speedgate, a sports game that incorporates elements of soccer, field hockey, rugby, and more.
AI Presence in the Sports World
While this is not the first time that we've seen AI being used in sports, it is the first time that AI managed to create a new sport on its own. In the past, we have seen many sports organisations leveraging AI and machine learning to improve their game in terms of team setup optimisation, personalised improvement plans for players, and better training experiences overall.
Paired up with wearable technology, AI can also draw powerful insights regarding the player's performance on the field and how it can be further improved. One of the more unique achievements is Noah - a shot arc analysis programme. It is designed to help basketball players improve.
We have also seen the use of natural language processing in the reporting for Minor League Baseball. It's conveniently named Wordsmith, and it generates reports by including relevant data and statistics.
April was about to end with no interesting news from the AI area. And then, we had the chance to witness something truly unique all thanks to Nvidia and AKQA. These two companies used AI and machine learning to create a brand new sport, codename Speedgate. How did this happen?
AKQA started by developing a complex machine learning network powered by cutting-edge hardware capable of analysing copious amounts of data. Once their setup was ready, they started feeding it relevant sports data. This data included rules and how-tos of numerous sports. Once the data was inside the system, they tasked their software to try to create a new game.
Speedgate was not the only game AI created
Some of the results were troubling as the AI created a game with no regard for the participants' safety whatsoever. Apparently, one of the games AI created featured exploding frisbees. The goal was to throw the exploding frisbees at the runners that are tasked to run around on a specially designed track.
Another game featured players who have to pass balls between each other while balancing on a line between two very hot air balloons. Both of these games appear very volatile and hazardous. What was more interesting, these are not the only two games AI created with no regard for human life. There were plenty more, but these two were the most prominent in the volatile category.
What is Speedgate?
In a bunch of results, Speedgate appeared as the most fun and safest sport to play. When compared to exploding freebies and balancing on a line between hot air balloons, this one is definitely benign. It is a crossover between netball, rugby, and field hockey.
The game features two six-player teams competing on the pitch. There are two gates on the pitch, and to win, a team has to outscore the other. Teams score by getting the ball through the opposing team's gate. The score is only valid if the team has already passed through the gates at halfway.
While it sounds crazy, developers are confident that the game will be picked up. They hope to see it become more than an AI invented sport - it would be nice to see it become a real sport.
AI has a tremendous impact on the world. It has already been used in many verticals, and now we are witnessing its arrival into the sports world as well. If history has taught us anything, it is this - as technology evolves, cybercriminals invent new ways of damaging the consumers. In return, this increases the need for cybersecurity down the line. Right now, the world is increasingly accepting the fact that taking care of their online privacy is crucial. Thus, various antivirus programs are not the only measure people take and using a VPN not only on desktop but mobile too, is becoming more and more common.
In any case, AI is not going anywhere. But by judging the results of the sports game creation, it is a long way from being independent.