Despite deepfake concerns, Olympics 2024 to embrace AI

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As part of an initiative spearheaded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the games’ broadcaster is using these developments extensively amidst rising deep fake concerns.

AI was first implemented at the PyeongChang Winter Games in 2018 by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), the organisation responsible for coordinating the live television, radio, and digital broadcasts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The CEO of OBS, Yiannis Exarchos provided insight into the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play at the 2024 Paris Olympics in an interview with Reuters.

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“In Paris, we will take this to a completely different level, numerous applications are envisaged, primarily geared towards enhancing the viewer experience, whilst also fostering significant operational efficiencies,” he said.

Exarchos added that OBS and Alibaba, a huge Chinese retailer, are working together to use AI to provide 360-degree aided replays. Partnerships with the official timekeeper of the Paris Games, Omega, a Swiss wristwatch-maker, also seek to provide enhanced data that would entail additional explanations generated by AI or tracking athletes.

Additionally, OBS and chip maker – Intel – are collaborating to produce quick, AI-generated highlights.

With the abundance of footage available from the Olympics, Exarchos stated that broadcasters would be able to quickly showcase various events according to a country, athlete, sport, or mood and tailor the viewing experience for viewers on social media or traditional television.

The usage of deepfake technology to produce digital fabrications has followed the global expansion of AI use. This has led to the dissemination of misinformation and propaganda, fraud, extortion, and impersonation, among others.

Exarchos expressed significant worry regarding the potential manipulation of reality and emphasized his efforts towards preventing deepfakes when questioned about his apprehensions regarding advancements in video technology leading to the creation of false content.

He noted that ensuring the integrity of competition is paramount while emphasizing the importance of safeguarding sports against such risks. He noted that OBS’s clients acknowledge the presence of this threat and are implementing various measures to shield Olympic content from any potential harm.

“The concerns that fans have is very legitimate. I am a huge believer in the possibilities of technology but precisely because I understand how technology can be wrong, I think we all need to be vigilant. We need to go to trusted sources to get our information.

“In the Olympics, we fully protect the authenticity of the video, so we do not tamper with it,” Exarchos said.

He noted that the protection and management of the IOC-owned content is “of utmost importance.”

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub | [email protected] | + posts

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].

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