A Scottish football club may regret its decision to replace human cameramen for an AI-operated camera system, after it hilariously kept mistaking a linesman's bald head for the ball, thus denying viewers of the action on the pitch.
Last month Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club, commonly known as Caley Thistle or Caley Jags, which competes in the Scottish Championship, the second echelon of the Scottish Professional Football League, proudly announced that it had installed the AI-powered Pixellot camera system at its Caledonian Stadium. The system was designed to replace human cameramen with artificial intelligence-controlled cameras designed to follow the ball on the football field. Only the plan to automate live broadcasts of its home games went awry last week, when Pixellot managed to annoy viewers by constantly mistaking a linesman's bald head for the ball during a game with Ayr United.
According to football news website ThickAccent, "the camera kept on mistaking the ball for the bald head on the sidelines, denying viewers of the real action while focusing on the linesman instead". Fans watching the game at home took to social media to complain that the camera kept swinging back to follow the linesman instead of the actual game, which made them miss much of the action, and even one of the two goals scored on the night.
"Inverness Caledonian Thistle don't employ a cameraman as their camera is programmed to follow the ball throughout the match. The commentator had to apologize today as the camera kept on mistaking the ball for the linesman's head..." Twitter user Tom Cox posted.
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
"Everything is terrible. Here's a football match last weekend that was ruined after the AI cameraman kept mistaking the linesman's bald head for a football," James Felton captioned a video of the hilarious confusion.
"The Pixellot system uses cameras with in-built, AI, ball-tracking technology to produce live HD footage of all home SPFL Championship matches at Caledonian Stadium," an Inverness announcement stated. Only last week's blunder proved that while AI has come a long way in recent years, it's far from perfect.
After news and footage of Pixellot's hilarious mistake went viral online, people suggested that Inverness provide bald linesmen and players with hats or toupées to avoid such issues in the future, while traditional live video production companies urged the Scottish club to get in touch and avoid AI-related troubles.