Paris 2024 Olympics to embrace AI amid deepfake concerns – Business Today

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In a move propelled by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the Games’ broadcaster is intensifying its utilisation of such advancements, albeit with apprehensions over the peril of “deepfakes”.

Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), the entity responsible for orchestrating the live television, radio, and digital broadcasts of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, initially embraced AI during the PyeongChang Winter Games in 2018.

Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of OBS, disclosed to Reuters during an event in London last Friday, shedding light on the forthcoming role AI will play at the Paris 2024 Games, “In Paris, we will elevate this endeavour to an entirely new echelon.”

He further elaborated, “Numerous applications are envisaged, primarily geared towards enhancing the viewer experience, whilst also fostering significant operational efficiencies.”

Exarchos revealed OBS’s collaboration with Chinese retail juggernaut Alibaba to leverage AI for 360-degree assisted replays. Additionally, partnerships with Swiss watchmaker Omega, the official timekeeper of the Paris Games, aim to offer “enhanced data… whether that entails additional explanations generated by AI or tracking athletes.”

The collaboration with chip manufacturer Intel is set to yield swift, AI-sourced highlights. “Given the vast array of Olympic content, our broadcasters will curate rapid highlights of various events, customising the viewing experience according to country, athlete, sport, mood, be it through traditional television or social platforms,” Exarchos asserted.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the world’s biggest showcase for the best athletes to push the boundaries of possibility and do things we never thought possible,” said Sarah Vickers, leader of Intel’s Olympic and Paralympic Games Office. “This summer, Intel will accelerate its mission of bringing AI Everywhere using Intel solutions at Paris 2024, showcasing the powerful potential of technology and AI to create immersive and interactive experiences at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 for millions around the world.”

“Our partnership with Intel has propelled us into a realm where emerging technologies, powered by artificial intelligence, are reshaping the world of sport for spectators, athletes, IOC staff and Partners,” said Ilario Corna, chief information technology officer at the International Olympic Committee. “Through their AI-powered solutions, Intel has enabled us to deploy AI faster than ever before. Together, in Paris 2024, our collaboration will create an Olympic experience like never before, embodying our shared commitment to building a better world through sport.”

However, as AI’s footprint expands globally, so does the advent of deepfake technology, casting a shadow over the digital landscape.

Deepfakes, a form of synthetic media achieved through AI techniques, intricately replace individuals in existing images or videos with likenesses of others, rendering the differentiation between authentic and manipulated media arduous.

This phenomenon has engendered concerns ranging from impersonation and fraud to the dissemination of misinformation and propaganda.

Addressing these concerns, Exarchos voiced apprehensions over the prospect of video enhancement facilitating the proliferation of deepfakes, emphasising the imperative to safeguard against such manipulations to preserve the integrity of sporting events.

“We must uphold the sanctity of competition… any compromise would pose a threat to the essence of sports,” asserted Exarchos, at the helm of OBS since 2012.

Counting among OBS’s clientele some of the world’s foremost media conglomerates, including NBC, Exarchos underscored their cognizance of the risks entailed, as they implement measures to shield Olympic content from potential breaches.

“The legitimate concerns of fans resonate deeply. While I am an ardent advocate for technological advancements, my understanding of its fallibilities necessitates vigilance. We must resort to trusted sources for information,” Exarchos affirmed, stressing the non-negotiable commitment to preserving the authenticity of Olympic footage.

The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be from July 26 to August 11, 2024. The Paralympic Games will take place from August 28 to September 8.

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