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How is AI changing Sports, on and off the field?

The Term AI: Almost every professional and educational field is moving towards the incorporation AI supported systems that possess the ability to make faster and better decisions. The use of AI has led to a wide number of breakthroughs from medicine, avionics and entertainment industry to energy optimization, language reading and facial recognition. Artificial intelligence […]

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How is AI changing Sports, on and off the field?

The Term AI:

Almost every professional and educational field is moving towards the incorporation AI supported systems that possess the ability to make faster and better decisions. The use of AI has led to a wide number of breakthroughs from medicine, avionics and entertainment industry to energy optimization, language reading and facial recognition.

Artificial intelligence is when different aspects of learning or features of intelligence are taught to a machine system that can be simulated to solve problems reserved to humans. In other words we can say that AI is when a language or a set of instructions is taught to a machine to solve problems for us and eventually improve themselves.

However a successful AI system cannot be formed without the study of the human brain and what are the processes involved when a human brain makes a decision. AI systems are inspired by human reasoning, like the human brain it can process a lot of information, can recognize patterns and make decisions based on logical evidences. AI systems use machine learning which means like the human mind it can store information, adapt and make even more effective decisions based on newly learned information.  

AI and the Sporting Industry:

We live in times where the sporting industries around the world are becoming panicles of the economy. The North American sporting industry alone has generated a revenue of 73.46 billion dollars in 2019 and the figure is predicted to rise even further. That being said the sporting industry was never more competitive then it is now and a decade ago we could not even think that a wide plethora of AI systems based on biomechanics and computational intelligence will dominate this booming industry.

Sporting events or outcomes is a numbers game, the upsets, the comebacks all boil down to digits which when transformed into understandable information permits sporting pundits to predict exact scores and helps managers craft winning teams on tight budgets. Due to the employment of various AI systems we have come to learn that sporting outcomes are not just mere luck or chance but in turn there is different meaningful information that when understood has given rise to revolutionary coaching philosophies that have made the sporting industry as we see it today.   

AI systems comprise of problem solving algorithms inspired by nature, where the system’s collective intelligence and malleability with the changing environment brings out stats for coaches that help them effectively manage the sporting talent at their disposal. These systems have the ability to study different external and internal factors that effect a player’s performance and can accurately provide readings regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the athlete.

These systems are constantly assessing information like endurance, temperament, individual quality, speed, force, flexibility, nutrition, respiratory system and much more that provide a complete picture about the individual performance and how will teams be better of using the athlete’s talent.

It is said that there are a very few things that cannot be calculated, the aspects that can be calculated are calculated with accuracy with the incorporation of different data analytics and artificial intelligence systems. Considering the richness that the sporting industry has for computable elements, this makes it the most ideal place for the use of artificial intelligence. Observing the impact that the integration of AI has brought to the industry we can only see the sporting industry depending on AI even more in the future. Here are some essential areas related to sports where AI is making its impact:

Evaluation of Potential and Market Values:

Although we cannot evaluate a human, but players now a days are subject to quantifiable scrutiny. Scouting parties from any sport be it football, baseball or basketball with the help of different performance metrics measure individual talent as a measure of the right fit and potential.

Measure of potential is just about the number of passes delivered and goals scored but by the use of more complex metrics and systems talent recruiters can now even draw comparisons between individual talent based on a wide array of factors.

With the availability of historical data which when turned into meaningful information teams and managers can now predict the upcoming potential of players before investing in them. This has also helped players recognize their own performing areas and further develop themselves accordingly.

In this era of ever rising contract fees, signing players has become a risky game but with help of mechanical data and analysis the stakeholders of the sport can now easily observe, analyze and predict future potential. These algorithmic systems are effective at helping coaches recognize talent but now managers can also evaluate undervalued players that can become an asset for their team.

Effective Training and Performance Routines:

Every individual talent is different and for a sport like football the stats for a forward would differ from that of a mid-fielder. AI mechanisms give coaches the ability to assess individual strengths and work areas which helps sporting professionals design different training routines for. Depending on the style of each individual player and the contribution towards the teams the performance indicators vary. That being said not all areas of individual performance are quantifiable but as the potential of AI systems is increasing with it the increasing part of the player’s performance is becoming measurable.

These intelligence systems also assists coaches to read the strengths and playing techniques employed by the opponent while preparing. This is essential in devising game plans that ensure the best use of talent in any sporting event.

Player Maintenance, fitness and Safety:

Recruiting and training players is not the only way AI can help a team’s owners but it also contributes towards the wellbeing, health and overall upkeep of the player. We all have observed the advances the medical field has made because of the employment of artificial intelligence. The AIs medical diagnostic capabilities are also employed in the sporting industry where being physically fit is of top concern. As we know that the sporting industry is all about the physical upkeep of the player we see different sporting agencies incorporating more technological tools that help players maintain top physical fitness.

Now players go through a number of different health tests that use AI technology to read various health related aspects and gauge player movement to better evaluate the fitness. These metrics can also help better understand early signs of physical weakness or fatigue and can save the players from heavy injuries on the field.

Leading sporting teams also use wearable technology that are constantly tracking the player’s musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system. This serves as a great help when it comes to maintain the most valuable players for long playing seasons.

Marketing and Broadcasting:

AI has also influenced the sporting industry off the field as it has transformed the way sporting events are broadcasted and audience experience. AI has also helped broadcasters monetize the sport more effectively by contributing towards how a game is televised. Now we see more camera angles and quick stats being used in every sports for the viewing pleasure of the audience.

AI has helped create the best viewing experiences as compared to the days of old. Intelligence systems have made it possible for broadcaster to display effective advertisements based on the location and the excitement levels of the audience. The incorporation of various AI systems has made it easy for broadcasters to present the right camera angles for the best viewing experience.

Conclusion:

AI presents possibilities that are infinite in nature, there is always advancement taking place for the development of newer systems that can present more opportunities when it comes to data analysis. We as humans have always sought out ways to predict the future and with the advent of AI we can now more accurately predict events that have yet to occur. The power of processing information at a faster rate has given us the ability to solve complex problems and analyze information from multiple dimensions.

We as a human race with the help of AI systems have developed better opinions about things and in turn intelligent systems have made us learn about ourselves more. It is not only sports but we can see artificial intelligence being deployed in every field as is effecting our lives in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend. Ai has help transform the world as we know it, has increased our capacity to perform and move forward at a fast pace. With endless possibilities artificial intelligence has given us the power to reduce noise and error when making significant decisions. 

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