NBC Will Be Using The A.I. Voice of Al Michaels to Commentate Highlight Packages For This Year's Summer Olympics

Brian To. Shutterstock Images.

CNN - NBC is bringing a version of famed sportscaster Al Michaels back to the Olympics this summer with an unlikely twist: His voice will be powered by artificial intelligence.

NBC announced on Wednesday it will use AI software to recreate Michaels’ voice to deliver daily recaps of the Summer Games for subscribers of its Peacock streaming platform, a milestone for the use of AI by a major media company.

The use of an AI voice for the Olympics comes as the technology has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly in its ability to create images, sound and text. That, in turn, has raised questions in creative industries, such as journalism, about how artificial intelligence can – or even should – be used. 

I really don't like the way A.I. Al Michaels looks when you type it out. Because of how the capital I and lowercase l look exactly the same in Arial font. But try to move past how annoying that is and focus on overreacting to the topic at hand. Al Michael's voice is being recreated by A.I. and will be used to provide commentary on Olympic highlights. 

That means the computers have officially taken over. Soon we will all be without jobs. The government will eventually take us prisoner and force us to live in a big sciency warehouse where all we do is pedal stationary bikes day-in and day-out that help power the computers who now run our world. We'll live in tiny little dorms with twin sized beds and the only forms of entertainment we're allowed will be content we can purchase with tokens we earn from pedaling our bikes faster. 

That's what's about to happen guys. A.I. Al Michaels doing Olympic highlights is just one of the many small steps on the road to that very Black Mirror episode becoming reality.

It was only a matter of time before someone like NBC came along and broke the seal on this. We've already known that A.I. is fully capable of doing this job. This seems like light work for A.I. to me. I would have thought they had the technology to make A.I. Al Michaels call the Olympic Games live by now. They probably do. It's just nobody wants to be the first ones to unleash that technology on the world. It's too slippery of a slope. Half the jobs in this country can be done with artificial intelligence. A.I. would have had this blog finished with zero grammatical errors and much funnier jokes for the tiniest fraction of the money and time Barstool is paying me to do it. But if we don't leave something for humans to do, then say hello to Black Mirror bike world. Is that really worth NBC shaving a couple hundred thousand off Al Michaels' Olympic check?

God damn it Al Michaels. You could have put a stop to this. But it was at least nice of you to pretend to have some trepidations about allowing NBC to use your voice in this manner.  

“When I was approached about this, I was skeptical but obviously curious,” Michaels said in a press release. “Then I saw a demonstration detailing what they had in mind. I said, ‘I’m in.’” 

By "demonstration detailing what they had in mind", I'm assuming Al Michael's meant, "I saw how much less work I'd have to do for basically the same amount of money", and instantly said yes. Unless he was just worried that A.I. Al Michaels would make him sound like an asshole. Like he'd reach too deep into the Al Michael's archives and pull out some not so cool words or phrases that used to fly back in the 80's. I'd imagine at 79 years old Al is naturally a bit skeptical when it comes to brand new technology such as this.

I do wish NBC had handled this announcement in a different way. In fact, I wish they hadn't told us they were doing this at all. I'd like to see whether or not the internet would be able to call out NBC for using an A.I. voice on their highlights. I'm curious to see just how good this A.I. technology is. What if A.I. Al Michaels is better? What if he starts coming up with his own clever catch phrases and punny nicknames that people grow to love. Then in the coming years as real-life Al Michaels continues to get older and older, and inevitably gets worse and worse in the booth, people will start clamoring for A.I. Al Michaels to work with Kirk Herbstreit on Thursday Night Football. Maybe that's what Al Michaels is actually worried about. That A.I. him will take his own job. A.I. Al might be just as much of a threat to Al Michaels as he is to the rest of the world.

Get ready to pedal those bikes people.