GMA Network unveils PH's first AI sportscasters; netizens react

MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network unveiled the very first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated sportscasters in the Philippines, who are set to report in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 99, which started this Sunday, September 24.

Meet Maia and Marco — the Philippines’ first AI Sportscasters!
Photo courtesy: GMA Integrated News/FB

According to GMA, the launch of the said AI sportscasters reportedly took place through the collaboration of GMA Integrated News (GMAIN), GMA New Media Inc. (NMI), and GMA Synergy.

"Named Maia and Marco, the newest Kapuso AI sportscasters are set to deliver the latest news about NCAA Season 99, as well as updates on local and international sports featuring Filipino athletes, on the social media platforms of GMAIN, GMA Sports, and GMA Synergy," GMA stated.

It is said that "Maia" and "Marco" were both developed using artificial intelligence through Image Generation, Text-to-Speech AI Voice Synthesis/Generation, and Deep Learning Face Animation Technology.

According to Senior Vice President and Head of Integrated News, Regional TV, and Synergy, Oliver Victor B. Amoroso, the first AI sportscasters of GMA Integrated News can be considered a "groundbreaking initiative" and demonstrates their commitment to innovation in journalism.

“The introduction of the first AI sportscasters by GMA Integrated News is a groundbreaking initiative that significantly impacts our objective of ‘Mas malaking misyon, mas malawak na paglilingkod sa bayan.’It aligns with our mission to serve all communities within the nation and promote inclusivity in our reporting,” Amoroso said.

“GMAIN’s adoption of AI technology also demonstrates our commitment to innovation in journalism. We embrace emerging technologies to stay at the forefront of the media industry by providing our audience with a modern and engaging sports news experience. Through this initiative, we continue to fulfill our commitment to providing valuable information and enriching the lives of Filipinos worldwide,” he added.

However, it seems that many netizens did not like the idea of having AI sportscasters, especially those studying mass communications and journalism. Comments can be seen on the GMA News comment section.

“Ba’t di na lang totoong tao?”

“It’s not even a good idea. sportscasting ang isa sa underrated field sa journalism.”

“Wow 😭 what a way to indirectly discourage Mass Com students 💔.”

“As Communication Graduate, nakakalungkot po. Isa ito sa madilim na bahagi ng Innovation at Technology at maging sa mga nagpapakadalubhasa sa larangan ng pamamahayag.”

“Nothing to be happy about here. It’s actually alarming, scary, and sad. This isn’t even worth praising and I stand my ground. Technology should always be “just” an assistance to humans, not a replacement to humans.”

“Kala ko pa naman willing kayo mag hire ng isa pang Mike Enriquez? Where’s the uniqueness of every broadcaster kung puro AI na in the future.”

On the other hand, the introduction of Maia and Marco continued despite receiving criticism on social media.

— Richard, The Summit Express

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