AI-Controlled Camera Follows Bald Referee’s Head Instead of the Ball

Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (ICTFC) used AI cameras to cover a soccer match with their rivals from Ayr United. Unfortunately, the AI mistook the bald head of the linesman for the ball and kept tracking him for the entire match.

We all hear about robots taking human jobs, and camera operator seems to be an occupation on that list. Following a white ball on a green field appears to be a perfect job for an automated system, but AI research and its integration with IoT devices have a lot of kinks to smooth out.

Of course, the replacement of the camera operator was due to COVID-19 and not some fantastic upgrade to the technology. According to a report from Interesting Engineering, the camera simply followed the linesman’s head, with few interruptions. As expected, people forced to watch the game from home and not from the stands were not happy.

“ICTFC will utilize live footage supplied by the newly installed Pixellot camera system installed at Caledonian Stadium,” said the club before the match. “The Pixellot system uses cameras with in-built, AI, ball-tracking technology to produce live HD footage of all home SPFL Championship matches at Caledonian Stadium, which will then be broadcast directly to ICTFC Season Ticket holders and those purchasing a PPV match via a centrally operated streaming platform at StreamAMG.”

The good news is that such AI systems are easy to perfect once a problem occurs. As suggested by the fans, a simple solution is to give a cap to the linesman so the AI doesn’t mistake his head for the ball. But that only means that the problem remains and could crop up at any given moment, with another bare bald head.

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