The French tennis federation is paying technology company Bodyguard.ai to provide French Open players with software that uses artificial intelligence to block negative and hateful comments on social media in real time.
Use of the AI program is optional, but free for all of the 700 to 800 players in the tennis tournament, including singles, doubles, juniors and wheelchair players. The company said dozens of players have signed up for the service since the start of the week. The program is available for use by athletes on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
“Tennis players’ social media accounts attract insults, death threats, and hateful and sometimes racist and homophobic comments made by trolls,” FFT said in a statement shared with CNET. “By connecting to this new system, they will be protected from all types of harassment (discrimination, insults, mockery, threats, etc.) and will be able to engage with their fans in complete safety and focus on their performance.” on the court.”
In the statement, Jan Geren, head of sport at Bodyguard.ai, called the anonymous hate often shared on social media a “sad reality.”
“The goal is to protect players and their mental health directly and indirectly – because their environment can also read these comments – and to ban people who intend to spread hate and be aggressive,” Guerin said. “Tennis is one of the sports most affected by this curse.
Participating players must scan a QR code before connecting to their social media accounts. Private messages are not moderated.
Bodyguard.ai said it provides tournament organizers with daily reports showing the number of messages received and the number deleted, and will alert them even if an attack is identified. If requested by FFT, the company says it can “provide sample messages and the identity of the perpetrators in the event of legal action.”
Guerin told The Associated Press that the company’s software is constantly updated for new words or emoticons that need to be checked, and that the software “needs less than 100 milliseconds to analyze a comment and delete it if it’s hateful or undesirable’.
Bodyguard.ai says it has developed proprietary AI technology that automatically “identifies and blocks in real time 90% of toxic content.”
The cost to the federation was between $30,000 and $50,000, FFT CEO Caroline Fleisier told the AP. Bodyguard.ai did not respond to a request for comment.
As the technology becomes more sophisticated, AI is being used in more industries, from fitness training companions to online personal shoppers. But AI and technology leaders agree that AI needs regulation and that “reducing the risk of extinction from AI must be a global priority.”
The French Open began on May 28, with the women’s final scheduled for June 10, followed by the men’s final on June 11. However, one familiar face is not playing at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris. Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament due to injury.
Here’s how to watch the French Open even without cable.
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