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Posted April 5, 2017, 9:39 pm
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IBM using Watson to improve Masters experience for fans

There’s a new member in the Masters Tournament press building this year: IBM’s Watson.

The interactive technology serves as a question-answering machine, with IBM using it this week to automatically subtitle interviews and generate transcripts.

“We always ask ourselves, ‘How can we improve the fan experience even more?’” said John Kent, technology lead for IBM’s work at the Masters Tournament.

Kent has worked at the Masters for 17 years and said that Watson is an ideal addition to the team because of its strengths. Kent boasts a math and science background and said Watson excels in using unstructured data and understanding the tone and sentiment of a conversation.

“When you think about those capabilities, it really makes you feel differently how, whatever experience you’re creating, Watson can make it better,” Kent stated.

Though technology is constantly expanding, Kent said IBM’s goal in covering the Masters remains unchanged.

“We align everything with the Masters’ vision of creating that sense of place,” he said. “It’s very important that we respect the history and traditions, while telling the story of the Masters in a simple, yet informative way.”

According to a news release, this first-of-a-kind Watson Technology extracts “exciting moments” from live video streams of the Masters based on video, audio and text cognitive-computing techniques.

The system uses sophisticated computer vision algorithms to understand the content of the video, such as the detection of a player celebrating, or the start of a golf swing based on TV graphics.

In addition, it analyzes the audio to detect crowd cheering and commentator excitement and converts speech to text to find words and expressions related to exciting moments as well as the tone of the conversation.

To IBM’s knowledge, this is the first time a system has been developed that integrates these factors using cognitive computing methods for ranking exciting moments in sports.