Dem 51
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GOP 49
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You Can't Spell Al Michaels without "A.I."

This is not directly related to politics, but we have, of course, been keeping a close eye on developments in A.I. technology, specifically as they facilitate the creation of plausible political fakes—fake images, fake audio recordings, fake video footage.

During this year's Olympics, NBC will conquer yet another frontier with their daily recaps of each day's action. This is a job that is generally done by some senior, well-established personality, like Bob Costas or Mike Tirico. And it will be done by a senior, well-established personality this year. Or, at least it will sound that way. The network has contracted with an A.I. firm to fake the voice of famed announcer Al Michaels (with Michaels' approval), and will use the fake Al voice to narrate the real highlights.

Mind you, there is no NEED for this. Michaels is still capable of doing highlights the "old-fashioned" way, and if he's not, NBC has plenty of other people on staff. The network is going for a two-fer here. First, they are going to drum up some interest among people who will tune in to see how good the Al Michaels software really is. Second, the network dreams of a day when they can replace many of the (expensive) human announcers with (cheap) A.I. announcers, and this will be a nice little test run.

And actually, there is a direct political angle to this story. Back when the status of Joe Biden on the Ohio ballot was up in the air, we were somewhat critical of the Democrats for scheduling their convention so late in the summer, and thus creating this issue in the first place. What we forgot was that the Olympics run from July 26 to August 11. So, unless the DNC wanted to compete with the Olympics (bad idea), then they had to wait until mid-August. Note that this is the basic situation in all presidential years, which means that it really is time for Ohio, Alabama, Washington, et al. to change their stupid laws. (Z)

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