Can Baidu’s AI robot Duer beat a human commentator at the Rio Olympics?

Baidu’s artificial intelligence (AI) robot Duer is having a new job: serving as a commentator for men’s basketball at the 2016 Rio Olympics. For users who cannot watch live videos, they can now keep up with the games by reading Duer’s real-time report in words and pictures.

Duer does the job by following several platforms, where it collects information ranging from professional knowledge and real-time data to pictures, videos, and comments; it then integrates, selects, and outputs the data for image-text broadcasting and after-match reviews.

Screens of Duer's comments (Photo from Baidu Images)
Screens of Duer working as a commentator (Photo from Baidu Images)

People make mistakes, but machines may not – needless to say that Duer is more than a machine. This AI robot has three major features to prove that it is up to the job:

1. It is a non-human apprentice of Yang Yi, a famous and experienced basketball commentator in China. By mimicking Yang, Duer has acquired needed not just specialist terms, but also humor, making its reports less rigid and more natural. In fact, while commenting on the men’s basketball match between China and France, it even used the Chinese word “honghuangzhili” or “prehistorical power” – a term that suddenly had become popular in China over the past few days – that is, it became popular before Duer started to say it.

2. It offers customized comments, as basketball fans can switch the broadcasting mode to follow the performance of a single player. Duer will tell you when your favorite star is on the court and how they are performing. Although this mode currently seems to be merely an extraction of the relevant information, improvements are expected when the comments are made less di.

3. Other than making comments, Duer can also answer your questions concerning the game, such as “How many points have Yi Jianlian scored?” It also sends you photos and animated gifs from the game. And if you’re for after-match reviews, it recommends relevant news reports selected for you. In addition, an audio version may be expected before long.

Netizen Yu1yizhixia commented on Weibo, “All the commentator said was great, great, it’s just great…” If you’re tired of a human commentator, why not try the app of Duer as a commentator?

(Top photo edited from Baidu Images)

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