Can you imagine a world where referees never miss a call? Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gary O'Reilly, and Chuck Nice discuss artificial intelligence replacing sports referees. #SportSciQ
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: The whole point of AI is that it's more creative than we are. So you're not going to outsmart AI.
GARY O'REILLY: Could AI reasonably replace an NFL official right now?
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: In football, everybody wants a fair game call-- everybody. And so AI will call a game better and faster and more accurately than any human. Put sensors on the field. You'll know exactly when the foot went on the line. Do you really need the referee to do this during a field goal? Everyone sees it. Everybody knows it. You don't know it. And if it bounces, you have sensors that detect this.
And I distinguish it from baseball only because the decision of the batter to swing or not swing in the fraction of a second they have to decide, folded into that is wondering whether the umpire is going to call a pitch that's on the edge a ball or a strike. That anticipation, that anxiety is, I think, part of the sport that will never go away. And it will never get voted into an AI device.
GARY O'REILLY: If we have all of this, Neil, are we going to find players themselves solving it with greater creativity on their own behalf?
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: No, because the whole point of AI is that it's more creative than we are. So you're not going to outsmart AI because it's smarter-- it's this collective--
CHUCK NICE: And that's why I don't want it. That's why I don't want it. When you talk about baseball, the, I'll say, interpretation of a call-- because a call is an interpretation of what just happened.
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: It's how I saw it.
CHUCK NICE: That's the human element that makes the game exciting. Because there's a foul on every single play in football.
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: OK, so what you do-- so here's what you do. No, no. You all are thinking the wrong way. You have AI call all shots, OK? However, there's a dial that you can turn that changes the threshold of how much can happen before you start calling infractions.
CHUCK NICE: That's not bad.
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Ooh, we convinced Chuck. Gary, we convinced Chuck.
CHUCK NICE: Yeah, I'm OK with it. I mean, I never want to see it happen. But if it does happen like that, I would be OK.
GARY O'REILLY: You've definitely got an umpire, essentially