Let’s tech-progress our life
Those who like tennis may have watched some of the 2022 Australian Open matches over last month.
And I am sure most would have noticed a novelty: the absence of Line Judges at the court. The absence of people using their eyes and professionally trained capability to spot if a tennis ball, running somewhere in between 100 and 200 kilometres per hour, depending on the type of shot, has actually bounced within the court limits… or not.
Example of best human standard, challenged.
Tough undertaking; nonetheless one for which humans have been proficient at, so far. Or, one for which human’s level of proficiency has been accepted by the public, the fans, the players… the commercially interested actors inherent to sporting events that turn into competitive commercial business.
Line Judges have shown an impressive quality of convincing so many. They have had a proficiency level that has allowed them, especially at times of controversy, to defend their capability of getting their job done as best as it can get done, every time. A job well done, for human standards. Undisputed. They have exhibited an amazing human performance!.
Until “as best as it gets” started to get redefined, by this technology, to the naked eye of everyone watching, and of everyone commercially involved.
The “Hawk-Eye”: technology redefined, deployed.
This technology is called “Hawk-Eye”; a catchy name, perhaps attempted to relate it closer to the physical world and make it stand-out amongst communities of fans, no matter their location and culture.
The google definition of this technology reads like this:
“Hawk-Eye uses six or more computer-linked television cameras situated around the court. The computer reads in the video in real time, and tracks the path of the tennis ball on each camera. These six separate views are then combined together to produce an accurate 3D representation of the path of the ball”.
This technology probably started to deliver better results than humans achieved, from the day it got installed and operated in a tennis court. And perhaps as it has proven to continue doing so for a long time, it is that this year, at the Australian Tennis Open, it has replaced all human Line Judges on court… leaving just the Chair Empire in… so far!.
And it has done so without facing much public controversy; no problem seems to have transpired openly so far from any of the main stakeholders affected by its deployment: the players, the audience, the organisation, the sponsors… the fans.
How come this technology has taken few humans so suddenly out of their physical roles without any discontent from the main protagonists, nor from the corporations that make the event commercially successful for everyone?.
Transients matter; transformative success is not sudden.
I believe we have witnessed quite a sweet transition process of a successful disruption based on technology: it has worked, it has happened, in my view as a tennis and technology fan, as follows:
Focus: One application.
First of all, the disruption has been around just one application.
The technology has not been deployed to tackle all aspects of judging the fairness of the game for every single situation. It just looked at the bouncing of the ball against well marked and visible lines on the floor. Multiple lines, yes; and just one straightly scalable single use case. That’s it.
Co-existence: facing the challenge.
Secondly, the technology has coexisted with the traditional way of solving the problem; and it has been given time, while trialed in parallel with Line Judges physically present on court, given humans the right to challenge it, as well as the right to adapt their job to the technology’s output as part of their professional act. A friendly co-existence.
Superior experience: for everyone involved.
Thirdly, the technology has proven, during the co-existence, as being superior than humans for the main purpose of the act of judging: make the game fair.
The technology has not just proved better than humans; it has provided proof of becoming the best way seen to date to establish fairness for everyone involve.
The technology has replaced humans on an activity where human’s reliability could never be not even close to 100%, by delivering close to 100% reliability… if not just a 100%!.
The case, in this particular situation, is too well onto the technology’s side. The use case chosen is one where human capability would never deliver at the level the technology has. Full stop.
Technology meets commercial reality, and wins.
Linking technology with commercial reality! A sweet spot.
This is a case of technology, deployed for one single use case application, with proof of performance against the established practice, that delivered superior experience, based on making a competitive game fair. A successful formula, that may well increase the fans’ joy in the game.
Will this technology be implemented in all tennis major tournaments as a replacement of all the Line Judges?
Probably not… yet.
The technology requires a set up that not every single tennis court around the world might meet immediately without investment. The commercial viability for certain events may render the deployment unsustainable, and it will unlikely be globally adopted too soon.
The so called “grand-slam” tournaments, and some of the so-called Masters 1000 Series appear to have a strong enough commercial muscle to adopt the new ways of working, as many of them have already had the “Hawk-Eye” installed and operating.
For those where the installation is already proven and in working order, it may just take one single courageous decision: the one taken by the Australia Tennis Federation and Australia Open Organisation, going ahead replacing people and delivering incomparable, uncontested, fast fairness to the game: the “Hawk-Eye as a Judge”. A courageous decision for innovative and pioneering.
… over a Transient.
It is interesting to reflect on how important has been to be courageous, when you are backed by a solid human (physical) to digital transition plan: a complex technology, set to deliver value for one use case, proven globally over several years, finally use case-augmented in the one scenario where courage took over tradition, at Australian Open 2022.
What did trigger people to be this courageous? I think many of us can guess the answer to this question, looking at what the world has and is going through since late 2019 to date…
A trigger that generated the successful integration of a “digital technology” as a replacement of physical human presence in this Australian sport event, creating a superior experience for everyone involved, happened over a transition (long) path.
From 2001, through 2006… into Society 2022?
According to Wikipedia,
The Sony-owned Hawk-Eye system was developed in the United Kingdom by Paul Hawkins. The system was originally implemented in 2001 for television purposes in cricket.
And Google tells us that:
In March 2006, at the Nasdaq-100 Open, Hawk-Eye was used officially for the first time at a tennis tour event. In 2006 the US Open Tennis Championship became the first grand-slam event to use the system during play, allowing players to challenge line calls.
Would our Society now adopt disruptive technologies as a fair replacement of humans, as a trusted way to spread fairness for humans? Starting with fairness of a tennis match?
Whatever the trigger that made Australia to have the courage of replacing five or six judges by technology was; even if it was due to an unexpected and globally undesired pandemic scenario; the reality is that it has taken 16 years for a proven technology to be allowed to make the tennis game fairer for everybody.
Let’s “tech-progress” our life, without the need of undesired triggers.
Let’s ourselves be the trigger of acceptance of technology that has a consistent proof of value for aspects of life we care about.
Let’s embrace technology that show evidence, proof of delivering superior experience, commercial advantage, happiness, joy, fairness, trust… better life…
Whichever the value we are looking to augment as a Society in 2022 is, let’s embrace technology that delivers it consistently, and with transparent evidence; like the “Hawk-Eye” does!.
Let’s actively embrace this kind of “tech-progress”…
… and we change the world.
A hUmAn21 TRANSIENTS#21 SLOG.