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Will AI replace human coaches in professional sport?

As rapid advances in AI and wearable technology asks probing questions about the role, value and future of professional sports coaches, svexa CEO Dr Mikael Mattsson, PhD, maintains a human touch will always be needed to help elite athletes perform
Dr Mikael Mattsson, Phd
Dr Mikael Mattsson, Phd

Mikael Mattsson is CEO at exercise intelligence company svexa, which creates algorithms and software for decision support for sports teams, elite and recreational athletes, as well as hardware and software companies in the sports and health tech industries. He lives in Menlo Park, California. Follow him on Instagram. Visit svexa.com and svexa on Instagram.

Will AI coaches change the game forever?

Artificial intelligence and wearable technology have already had a huge impact on improving elite athletic performance, and many of these technological breakthroughs are beginning to trickle down into the amateur athletic space.

But if the relationship between AI, smart tech and physical performance is still in its nascency, just how big an impact can and will it have on pushing the limits of human potential to a previously unimaginable level?

Unfiltered sat down with Mikael Mattsson, co-founder and CEO of human performance intelligence company svexa in the heart of Silicon Valley to discover how both existing and evolving AI technology will steer and shape professional sport over the coming decade, and what it will mean for both athletes and armchair viewers.

Svexa works with a number of top-flight teams across a number of sports, both in Europe and North America, and a key part of any conversation around AI and elite performance is the evolving role human managers and coaches will have in professional sport.

Because if AI can monitor and analyse hundreds, or thousands, of biometric and other performance data points in real time, which it can, and then make performance or tactical recommendations based on that data, which it does, where do the humans fit in?

Will the English Premier League become a multi billion-dollar version of the Football Manager computer simulation game, in which player recruitment, management and deployment is essentially based on marks out of 20 for a range of tangible and intangible skills, with an AI “coach” responsible for all tactical changes, decisions and substitutions?

Will this relegate the role of a coach to little more than a friendly face who puts an arm round the shoulder after a bad day at the office?

And, for you, what impact will AI and automated coaching have on your 5k time, or your five-a-side team’s results? Even if you reach new personal highs, can you ever love an algorithm as much as a human who’s fully invested in making you better?

Would you like an AI manager to run your club?

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Joe Warner, Editor-in-Chief, Unfiltered

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