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Olympic Organisers Introduce Plan for AI Integration in Sports

In a bid to embrace technological innovation, Olympic organisers revealed their plan on Friday to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into various aspects of sports, aligning with the global trend of leveraging cutting-edge technology.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) disclosed its vision for harnessing AI, citing its potential in identifying promising athletes, customisng training methodologies, and enhancing fairness in competitions by refining judging procedures.

IOC President Thomas Bach emphasised the significance of embracing change to uphold the essence of the Olympic Games during a press briefing held at the velodrome in London's Olympic Park, the venue for the 2012 summer games.

"We are determined to exploit the vast potential of AI in a responsible way," stated Bach.

The IOC's AI initiative coincides with preparations for the upcoming Paris Olympics, slated to commence in less than 100 days. The IOC's AI roadmap encompasses endeavours to safeguard athletes from online harassment and improve the broadcasting experience for viewers. Several AI projects are scheduled for implementation at the Paris games, with the IOC establishing a dedicated working group to further promote AI adoption in sports.

Controversy has arisen regarding the Paris organisers' proposal to employ AI for security purposes, particularly through a video surveillance system equipped with AI-powered cameras to detect potential security threats such as abandoned packages or crowd disturbances. While digital watchdog groups express concerns about privacy implications, the French government assures that facial recognition technology will not be utilised. Bach deferred to the host country's authorities regarding security measures, expressing confidence in their professionalism.

Athletes, including skier Lindsey Vonn, expressed enthusiasm for AI-enhanced tools, noting their potential to optimise performance analysis and talent scouting. Vonn highlighted the evolution from handwritten performance diaries to sophisticated analytical tools enabled by AI, emphasising its complementary role alongside traditional coaching methods.

The IOC has collaborated with tech giant Intel to explore untapped talent pools, leveraging AI to assess the athletic potential of children in underserved communities. Intel's Chief Commercial Officer, Christoph Schell, outlined the successful identification of promising candidates through AI-driven analysis of physical abilities.

While acknowledging AI's transformative potential, Bach cautioned against allowing algorithms to dictate athletes' career paths, emphasising the importance of preserving individuals' opportunities for diverse athletic pursuits.

The IOC's foray into AI signifies a concerted effort to embrace technological advancements while maintaining the integrity and inclusivity of Olympic sports.


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