AI cameras have come a long way when it comes to object recognition and tracking, but sometimes the “intelligence” can fail in humorous ways. At a recent professional soccer match in Scotland, the AI broadcast camera tasked with tracking the soccer ball kept getting distracted by the sideline referee’s bald head.
As you can see in the 3-minute highlights video above, the camera continually panned away from the actual soccer action to center the frame on the ref’s head, which does look remarkably similar to the ball.
Engadget reports that the Scottish Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC soccer club began livestreaming home games at its Caledonian Stadium for season ticket holders and its pay-per-view audience.
Instead of human camera operators, the club turned to Pixellot, a company that brings AI automation to broadcasts.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle don’t employ a cameraman as their camera is programmed to follow the ball throughout the match. The commentator had to apologise today as the camera kept on mistaking the ball for the linesman’s head… pic.twitter.com/LeKsc2bEj7
— Tom Cox (@seagull81) October 24, 2020
While the camera mostly did its job of staying on top of the action by following the ball, it turns out this sideline ref’s head was a little too ball-like, and the AI had a hard time figuring out which “ball” to focus on.