2. Moneyball + AI = Win?
Billy Beane, the analytics-driven general manager of the budget-strapped Oakland A's, shook up sports and corporate boardrooms by melding overlooked, under-valued players into oddball yet cheap and winning teams. His magic, dubbed Moneyball in the book by Michael Lewis, enshrined a new job category in serious sports — director of analytics.
Yes, but: There is one big thing that his technique never accomplished: win Beane a championship.
Enter artificial intelligence: Some pro-sports teams are exploring how machine-learning, the leading form of AI, might help where Moneyball has fallen short. Richard Zemel, an AI consultant for the Toronto Raptors, tells Axios that among things that could transform a season would be forecasting an opposing team's next play, or signaling whether, if you swap out one player for another, "we go on to win the championship."
Be smart: As of now, AI in sports is in its infancy — forecasting is far in the future, and it's meanwhile being used for psychological profiles of potential recruits. But Zemel, a professor at the University of Toronto and research director at the Vector Institute, said he's working to automate the human insight of a good coach, which he explained in a paper he co-authored last year.
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