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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When I worked at ESPN, one of my jobs was to watch a live sporting event, log everything that happened in real-time, and produce a highlight (usually one short version, one long) that would run on "SportsCenter."

The state of play: Deciding what plays and replay angles to include in my 60-second retelling of a 48-minute basketball game felt like a very "human" task. But fast forward just a few years, and that job, like so many others, is now being automated.

Driving the news: WSC Sports, a Tel Aviv-based startup developing AI-powered sports video creation tools, recently closed a $23 million Series C round to bring the company's total funding to $39 million.

How it works: WSC Sports' AI technology analyzes sports broadcasts, identifies key plays, and combines them into highlight reels in near real-time. Those short-form clips are then published and distributed at scale for clients like the NBA and Bleacher Report.

  • The AI listens for crowd noise and understands that the louder the crowd, the more important the play was. It knows that multiple replays mean something big just happened, and it’s always aware of the score, the time and the situation.
  • As a result, it can construct a narrative of the game as the action unfolds and instantly produce a highlight reel recapping what went down.

Why it matters: This technology could revolutionize how sports networks and media outlets produce highlights, which remain a huge part of every sport fan's diet even if the glory days of Stuart Scott and "boo-yah" are over.

  • In fact, while some may argue that the sports highlight show is dead, highlights themselves are more ubiquitous than ever thanks to social media.

The big picture: In addition to taking over highlight-making duties, our robot overlords are also writing game previews and recaps — and that's actually been going on for a while now.

  • Newsflash: If you read a preview of a college basketball game or a recap of a minor league baseball game this year, there’s a good chance it was written by AI designed to turn data into natural language, rather than a human being assigned to cover that game.

Go deeper: The coming impact of automation

Go deeper

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

18 mins ago - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.