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Gymnastics' Latest Twist? AI Judges That See Everything


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A robot judge uses three-dimensional laser sensors to track the gymnast's movements.

The gymnastics world championships in Germany, the biggest gymnastics meet outside the Olympics, for the first time used an artificial intelligence system to evaluate athletes' performance.

Credit: The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

The gymnastics world championships in Germany, the biggest gymnastics meet outside the Olympics, for the first time used an artificial intelligence (AI) system to evaluate athletes' performance by measuring and analyzing skeletal positions, speed, and angles via three-dimensional laser sensors.

International Gymnastics Federation president Morinari Watanabe envisions such robot judges eliminating human error and subjectivity from gymnastics contests; “this is a step toward the challenge of justice through technology,” Watanabe said.

At the world championships, the AI system was a means for human judges to confirm scores when gymnasts either formally contested their score, or the score widely deviated between judges.

International Gymnastics Federation sports director Steve Butcher said all athlete information collected at the competition would be discarded at a predetermined expiration date, to address privacy concerns.

From The New York Times
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