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MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network is rolling out its latest attempt in artificial intelligence (AI) integration to everyday media production with the debut of AI sportscasters in the NCAA Season 99 men’s basketball tournament this Sunday, September 24.
Public perception, however, quickly turned sour on GMA’s social media accounts within the first few hours of posting, with many people calling the innovation “alarming,” “saddening,” and “unsettling.”
“This is unsettling. There are countless skilled humans capable of performing brilliantly in those tasks.
“Also, sports are heavily driven by passion, excitement, and human drama. AI might lack the ability to convey the emotional highs and lows of a game, reducing viewer engagement,” one user wrote.
“Wow. What a way to indirectly discourage Mass [Communication] students,” wrote another user, running on the same thought vein as multiple other comments.
Rising PBA star Javee Mocon, who commentates NCAA games in his spare time, even joked in Filipino to his fellow pro baller Rey Nambatac: “We no longer have jobs.”
As of posting, GMA’s Facebook post has garnered more than 11,000 shares and 30,000 reactions – more than 21,000 of them “Sad” and 2,000 “Angry.”
In a press release, the broadcast networking giant called the AI project “a groundbreaking initiative that significantly impacts our objective of ‘Mas malaking misyon, mas malawak na paglilingkod sa bayan.’ (Bigger mission, wider service to the nation)” and an effort to “promote inclusivity in our reporting.”
The AI sportscasters, named Maia and Marco, will likely debut in the NCAA Season 99 opening ceremony at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, 2 pm. – Rappler.com