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AI-generated voice of legendary broadcaster Al Michaels will take center stage for NBC’s Paris Olympic highlights

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The upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics will witness a groundbreaking innovation in sports broadcasting, blurring the lines between human and machine. This summer, legendary announcer Al Michaels' iconic voice will be featured, albeit through the power of artificial intelligence (AI), to personalize the Olympic viewing experience for Peacock streaming service subscribers.


Why the AI Twist?

NBC's aim is to revolutionize the Olympic viewing experience with “Your Daily Olympic Recap on Peacock”. This program offers personalized 10-minute highlight packages narrated by an AI announcer. Viewers can curate playlists focused on their favorite events, athletes, and stories, all delivered in the familiar voice of Al Michaels, even though he won't need to be in Paris. This innovative approach caters directly to today's on-demand content viewers, allowing them to personalize their Olympic experience. 


The AI program's true power lies in its ability to generate a staggering 7 million personalized highlight packages, drawing from 5,000 hours of live coverage in Paris. This level of customization not only enhances viewer engagement but also potentially streamlines broadcast operations by freeing up resources.


A Legend in the Booth: Michaels' Legacy

A sports broadcasting icon with nine Olympic Games under his belt for both NBC and ABC, Michaels' signature calls, like "Do you believe in miracles?" during the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" game, have cemented his place in broadcasting history.



Interestingly, Al Michaels was initially skeptical about the project. However, NBC has trained the AI system using previous broadcast audio from Michaels, ensuring an authentic and familiar listening experience. Al Michaels himself was impressed by the AI's ability to replicate his voice, further highlighting the significant advancements made in AI technology.


Additionally, Al Michaels is also reportedly being compensated for his involvement, marking a significant shift in how AI leverages the voices of public figures. His willingness to participate in this AI collaboration stands in contrast to other public figures who have resisted the use of their voice and likeness in AI technology.


Beyond Paris: The Future of Sports Commentary

Paris 2024 will serve as a test case for AI-powered sportscasting. The success of this venture could pave the way for personalized broadcasts across various sports and events. However, the debate about the future of sports commentary remains. Will AI voices become the norm, or will viewers crave the irreplaceable human touch?


Image:  Hutchinsphoto | Dreamstime.com












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