Whilst we patiently await the day that Womble-shaped robotics replace human tennis players at Wimbledon, we can appreciate the IBM powered AI technology that the organisers of the Wimbledon tennis competition usage to boost the experience for TELEVISION and phone audiences.
As can be anticipated, the innovation tracks the ball, analyses gamer gestures, crowd cheers/booing but can’t yet determine the more subtle player behaviour such as serving an ace or the classic John McEnroe ‘smash your racket on the ground’ stunt. Presently a large number of expert human side kicks are required for recording these elements and manually publishing them into the huge Watson driven analytics system.
Phone apps are potentially the best locations to see the outcomes of the IBM Slammtracker system and are perfect for the casual tennis train spotter. It would be intriguing to see the intrinsic AI bias at work– whether it can compensate for the greater strength of the cheer for the more popular stars instead of the skill, or fluke shot, of the rank outsider. We also wonder if it will be misogynistic– will it concentrate on males rather than ladies in the combined doubles or the other method round? Will it be racist? Also, when will the umpires be changed with 100%AI?
Lastly, whilst we at Hackaday value the value of sport and exercise and the innovation behind the apps, much of us have no time at all to mindlessly view a ball reverse and forwards throughout our screens, even if it is accompanied by satisfying grunts and the periodic racket-to-ground smash. We ‘d much rather amuse ourselves with the idea of constructing the robotics that will certainly one day make seeing human tennis gamers a distant memory.