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NBC Brings an A.I. Al Michaels to Peacock for Paris Olympics Recaps

NBC Brings an A.I. Al Michaels to Peacock for Paris Olympics Recaps

NBC Brings an A.I. Al Michaels to Peacock for Paris Olympics Recaps

NBC is bringing Al Michaels back for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Or rather, NBC is bringing a version of Al Michaels generated by artificial intelligence to this year’s games.

The company says that it is turning to generative A.I. software to recreate the iconic sportscaster’s voice, which will provide customized Olympic recaps for Peacock subscribers during the Olympics. It announced the offering at a press event held at Studio 8H in NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters.

The result, which the company is calling “Your Daily Olympic Recap on Peacock,” will see users presented with a highly-customized highlight playlist, narrated by Michaels, or at least by an A.I. voice that sounds eerily like the sportscaster.

That includes Michaels greeting the user by name, and digging into highlights from specific sports that the user has said they are interested in. The highlights can also be further customized to focus on things like viral moments, athlete backstories, or other categories, with each package running about 10 minutes.

An NBCUniversal executive says that there are seven million possible ways that the playlists could be customized.

Michaels, as one would expect, approved the use of his voice, which was trained on his years of work for the broadcaster.

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

Michaels has worked on NBC’s Olympics coverage since 2010 (back when he was at ABC he called the legendary “Miracle on Ice” game), and also was the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC Sunday Night Football. Michaels currently works in the booth for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football.

Notably, an NBCU executive says that a team of NBC Sports editors will review all of the content before it is able to be added to the recaps “for quality, validation and accuracy,” including the pronunciation and intonation of certain names or events.

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That addresses one of the big concerns around generative AI, namely around accuracy and context. By having humans check the system before generating the recaps, it adds a layer of protection.

Still, the A.I. Al Michaels is a major move into generative artificial intelligence from a major media company, one that may provide a template for future offerings, where talent is looped in and (presumably) compensated for their work.

“Peacock continues to introduce unique customer-first features that strengthen our unmatched leadership in live streaming,” said Kelly Campbell, president of Peacock and direct-to-consumer, NBCUniversal. “With these recaps alongside interactive elements like Peacock Live Actions and Discovery Multiview, we’re bringing the best of sports together with the best of technology to deliver fans a personalized Olympics experience in a way that’s never been possible before.”

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