If you thought your job was safe from the grasping hands of AI, think again. Especially if that job involves being a commentator for the upcoming Wimbledon Tennis Championships highlights taking place later this year. If, for some reason, that applies to you… maybe a chat with your boss is in order.
In what appears to be a first in the professional history of the sport, the higher-ups are employing a generative AI model to commentate on all of the tournament’s video highlights. As the sport of tennis’ least-interested fans, we’re not all too fussed at the idea of artificially-generated commentary. We will, perhaps, take a little more interest if the artificial intelligence can accurately imitate the voice found in Wii Sports. Make it happen, Wimbledon.
Jumping on the AI train
The new commentary feature makes use of IBM’s long-standing partnership with the tournament, using the tech giant’s Watson AI platform, specifically providing commentary of the tournament’s key moments, with toggleable captions to go with it. Why, we hear you ask? Uh… it depends on who you ask. If you ask us, it’s a money-making ploy that’ll put the Wimbledon Championships in the headlines. Ask IBM, and this is the answer you’ll get:
“The tool has been designed to give fans a more insightful experience when catching up on key moments from matches…,” said the company before adding “Its introduction this year is a step towards making commentary available in an exciting way for matches outside of Wimbledon’s show courts, which already have live human commentary.”
To assure the model’s tennis terminology is up to scratch, IBM’s tech experts worked with The All England Club to train the artificial intelligence properly in the “unique language of tennis.” Better yet, IBM said the result would offer “varied sentence structure and vocabulary to make the clips informative and engaging.” As if we weren’t getting enough of that from the real-life human commentators.
While the lack of live artificially-generated commentary over the games might be reassuring to real-life commentators now, we’re not sure how long that will hold for. Before long, we could be seeing a far-more advanced piece of tech take the stage (and the jobs of its real-life counterparts). Or the world will forget its fascination with advanced LLMs and go off the idea altogether. Whichever comes first, really.
Betting on artificial intelligence
An artificial-intelligence-powered commentator isn’t all that IBM has cooked up for this year’s games which kick off on 3 July. With it comes the chance for fans to try out IBM’s AI Draw Analysis feature, which looks at the existing data and, using AI wizardry, spits out a statistic that determines a player’s chances of reaching the final in the Wimbledon singles draw. How it’ll affect the world of betting where Wimbledon is concerned, we’re yet to see. The outcome, wherever it leans, will be hilarious.
You’ll find the tournament’s artificially-generated highlights on the Wimbledon app, or over on wimbledon.com, once the tournament is in play.