It seems that artificial intelligence can do anything these days, or at least, it can try to. From paintings to music to books to beer to cookie recipes, we're training AI agents to flex their creative muscles. Our beloved sports have their origins in years of tradition sometimes stretching back to ancient cultures, or maybe just to children's fantasy novels. But now we have the first sport designed by computers, presumably to keep us busy in the future zoos of our machine overlords. Welcome to Speedgate.
Developers from design agency AKQA presented this new sport envisioned by an AI, which to me reads like an odd twist on soccer. The algorithmically designed ball game has two teams of six players competing on a field with three gates. The objective is to first kick the ball through the center gate (which you can't step through), which then enables your team to score on one of the end gates. You even get a bonus point if you can ricochet the ball through the gate. The ball has to move every three seconds, so the game keeps on at a good pace, hence the 'Speed'.
Speedgate was created by feeding data on 400 existing sports to a neural network, which then created its own sports and rules. As you might expect, some of these were rather odd in the style of neural network generated design such as "underwater parkour" or "exploding frisbees". But the humans at AKQA gradually selected the most plausible models to narrow it down to three remaining sports. After subsequent playtesting, Speedgate emerged the winner.
AI is also responsible for the game's logo and glorious motto "face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball". Badass.
Originally created as an exercise for Design Week, Speedgate does have a shot at becoming a legit sport. AKQA hopes to host an intramural league in the summer in collaboration with the Oregon Sports Authority, and is encouraging others to start their own leagues. Check out the source link below to find out everything you need to know to face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball. It makes as much sense as real-life Quidditch, anyway.