To solve its concussion issue, the NFL is crowdsourcing feckless AI ideas

The results of the NFL’s second annual artificial intelligence competition were released today by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The prize pool of $100,000 was distributed among five teams. I can’t think of a single reason why you should be concerned.

To begin, the NFL claims that the competition will aid in the resolution of the league’s injury issues via the use of machine learning.

In a news statement issued today, the league stated:

The NFL reviews game footage of all major injuries, analyzing each injury frame-by-frame from every angle, recording 150 different variables. The winners’ models automate that process, making review more comprehensive, accurate and 83 times faster than a person conducting the analysis manually.

Insights from the data will be used to inform the NFL’s injury reduction efforts, which include driving innovation in protective equipment design, safety-based rules changes and improvements to coaching and training strategies.

Okay. As a result, the NFL did not issue a challenge to developers to design AI-powered sensors to detect impacts or machine-learning technologies to assist medical personnel during on-field incident assessments.

It also didn’t employ algorithms to analyse injury scans in order to uncover information about the type of football-related injuries.

The NFL, on the other hand, asked individuals to design algorithms that would watch game film.

Background: In what universe is it a good idea to automate safety reviews? It’s not even functional. What does it matter if AI is 83 times quicker than humans at evaluating footage?

It’s not like we’re working with millions of hours of video and trying to figure out how to extract plays for humans to see.

Tesla, for example, must train AI to drive its vehicles in a simulated environment since it is not possible to have millions of agents driving millions of kilometres in the actual world. It would take too long and provide an excessive amount of data for people to look at.

The NFL, on the other hand, does not have this issue. Every game tape it makes is seen by millions of people and evaluated by tens of thousands of people.

The NFL’s response to its concussion epidemic has been a nonstop public relations campaign. It’s trying all it can to make it seem as though it’s resolving the issue. Despite its greatest marketing efforts, it has only been able to cut the incidence of concussions by roughly 25% in the last five years.

In addition, the league is valued at more than $100 billion. Instead of hosting pointless competitions that serve no use other than publicity, it should invest in actual solutions to its injury issues.

The average NFL regular season game is watched by about 15 million people. We don’t need assistance in detecting plays that result in injury. Players need assistance in reducing the likelihood of avoidable injuries.