What you need to know:
- On other hand, there are instances it has stoked controversy surrounding issues to do with unfair advantage and integrity.
- Predominant in these debates has been the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in various sports disciplines.
The place of technology in sport is a conversation from which we can no longer run. It has become a daily part of athletes' lives and an integral ingredient for success off and on the pitch.
On other hand, there are instances it has stoked controversy surrounding issues to do with unfair advantage and integrity.
Predominant in these debates has been the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in various sports disciplines.
Those who argue for the use of this technology point to its numerous benefits that outweigh the risks.
Indeed, reading up on AI and it's use in sport, there's no doubt that it can take Kenyan sport to a higher level by enhancing athlete performance, fan engagement and building brand visibility.
For an athlete, AI technologies provide the benefit of foresight through real-time data on vital aspects of the athlete's physical and psychological fitness, including heart rate, muscle tension, respiratory rate and blood pressure.
This information is useful to prepare a suitable training regime that caters to an athlete's specific needs and avoids unnecessary injuries.
It also aids in rehabilitation of a sportsperson after an injury.
Moreover, AI provides crucial data on performance, such as number of kilometres covered, top speed, aerial duels and number of passes made.
This information highlights the different areas in which an athlete can improve on to fulfill their potential.
As we seek to identify young talents at the grassroots, it is a no-brainer that AI will be a requirement.
This technology can help scouts to identify the potential of a player at a very young age and recruit the right talent that fit their needs.
These benefits notwithstanding, we must also be careful to understand the risks that come with adopting AI.
Foremost is the safety of the data collected from sportspersons.
There is always the danger that these data may end up in the hands of cybercriminals who can use it for credit card fraud, identity theft and blackmail, among other vices.
There is need to put the interests of Kenyan sportspersons at the forefront and involve them actively in the process.
They must be enlightened on why AI is important for them, the risks therein and how to guard themselves against these dangers.
The use of AI in sport would certainly raise ethical and legal questions around confidentiality, anonymity and privacy of the sensitive data collected from players. In our rush to embrace AI in Kenyan sport, we should be careful not to reduce athletes to guinea pigs.
However, the potential to raise the standards of Kenyan sports is huge.
Let's talk about AI in sports and let's reason together on how we can make the best use of this technology.
Korir is the chairman of Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi branch. [email protected]