Artificial Intelligence

How AI is altering gymnastics judging 

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JSS supporters additionally hope AI in gymnastics may have the facility to remove the inevitable biases that people deliver to the judging sales space. Because it at the moment stands, judging isn’t notably clear; coaches and gymnasts agree it’s tough to inform what goes on behind the scenes in scoring or inquiries. 

That is additional difficult by the truth that elements like nationality and physique sort can add a acutely aware or unconscious bias that influences scores. On the 2023 World Championships, as an illustration, gymnast Kaia Tanskanen knew that as a member of the Finnish staff, she was at a drawback—what followers name a “leotard bias.” Whereas judges could deny it, followers typically understand “built-in deductions” for nations that don’t have essentially the most aggressive and elite packages—nations, in different phrases, that aren’t the US or Russia.

Kaia Tanskanen in her blue leotard competes on uneven bars through the ladies’s {qualifications} of the 2023 World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.


That’s one motive Kaia (whose coach is Kim Tanskanen, her mom) is hopeful about how JSS may change competitors: “I really feel just like the scoring could be extra even,” she says.

“Particularly the smaller nations that compete internationally—I believe the judges simply have this assumption of what’s going to occur earlier than they even begin the routine, and so they type of choose primarily based off that,” says Emma Spence, an elite Canadian gymnast who competed on the 2022 World Championships. “If we will remove that, I believe it should make it a bit of extra of a good likelihood for everyone.” 

Whereas Butcher insists that judges “hopefully are leaving their biases behind them,” he too believes the JSS may assist remove these elements and do extra to create a good taking part in subject.

But a scarcity of transparency round how and when JSS is utilized in competitors could undermine this supreme. Rating sheets at FIG occasions don’t at the moment embody inquiries, so there are not any recorded particulars about how routines had been reviewed in competitors, together with whether or not JSS was used. Rating sheets don’t embody itemized deductions, both. So as to decide when JSS was used on the 2023 World Championships, I needed to contact particular person judges who’re excessive up within the FIG; even they couldn’t inform me precisely what number of instances the JSS was used. This data merely isn’t recorded. 

I used to be solely in a position to affirm it was used within the case of Srbić after connecting with the lads’s technical president; Srbić mentioned by way of electronic mail that even he didn’t know if JSS was used to determine his inquiry. 

Butcher instructed me that following the 2023 World Championships, athletes ought to have been despatched a hyperlink to a web site to see how their routines had been judged by JSS, to assist them make enhancements. However after I contacted Kaia and Kim Tanskanen after the competitors, they mentioned she hadn’t obtained any details about AI judging both throughout or after the competitors. (Butcher says that is possible a communication difficulty with the Finnish federation, although Satu Murtonen, the technical director of Finland’s Girls’s Inventive Gymnastics, tells me, “Sadly, I don’t bear in mind receiving any details about the robotic judging.”)

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