INNOVATION OR DISREPECT? GMA’s AI Sportscasters Receive Mixed Reaction Online

Are AI Sportscasters the Future or a Faux Pas?

GMA AI Sportscasters Receive Mixed Reaction Online
  • GMA Network’s introduction to its new AI sportscasters received different opinions online. 
  • Some saw this move as GMA’s way to spend less, while some emphasized that it could result in job loss. There are also a few commenters who agreed with the move.  
  • However, GMA explained that Maia and Marco are AI presenters and are not journalists.

On September 23, 2023, broadcast company giant GMA Network introduced Maia and Marco, the Kapuso AI sportscasters who will be part of the digital initiative for the opening of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 99. 

However, the online community turned sour on the “country’s first AI-generated sportscasters.” As of this writing, GMA News’ Facebook post about Maia and Marco has almost 9,000 sad reactions and 5,000 angry reactions. 

‌ Public Perception: Agree to Disagree? 

One of the most common comments in the post about having AI as sportscasters is that it is cheaper than humans, who have monthly wages. 

“Wala nang gastos (ang) GMA sa overtime pay, SSS, PAGIBIG, PhilHealth, at tax yan,” FB user Butch Bustria expressed. 

Earlier this month, veteran sports journalist Chino Trinidad revealed that he will be leaving the network after 23 years of working with GMA. 

Meanwhile, for some, having AI sportscasters can result in job loss or even create more narrow opportunities for those who aspire to be a journalist.

(Read more: AI to Replace Human Programmers in 5 Years? AI Startup CEO Sparks Debate)

“Yung mga broadcasters/journalists nga, mag-aaral pa ng ilang years to finish their degrees tapos maghihintay pa ng ilang years ulit to get that job pero at the end AI lang din naman pala ang gagawa ng trabaho nila! So sad for them!” said Chona Niragnam Romero on Facebook. 

“How tone-deaf and insensitive can you guys be to premiere AI sportscasters on NCAA, a college league with literally thousands of masscom students hoping to get jobs soon and not be replaced by AI?” X user Mac Turija tweeted. 

“Want nila ata ng mas makabagong tech without knowing na mas kelangan ng trabaho ng mga sportcasters. Hindi worth it na palitan ng AI ang human casting, pano na lang yung 100% na determined sa profession nila,” Angelo Lotino echoed on Facebook. 

On the other hand, Facebook user Jerome Ibanez stressed that GMa’s move could be a reflection to the reality that sports journalists have now turned into gossip and rumor reporters: 

“In a way, I understand the business decision. If pansin niyo sa mga commentary in games, sobrang kulang sa ‘laman’ yung mga nagbobroadcast. Kung ikukumpara niyo sa mga pundits abroad, where sandamakmak na analysis ang aabutin niyo per play, sa Pinas puro mga comments about kung saan galing si player, sinong bagong jowa, and generic play-by-plays lang ang kayang ideliver ng mga sports broadcasters ngayon sa Pilipinas.”

However, some were also throwing jokes in the comment section.

“Inspiration na to para sa next sequel ng terminator,” Em said. 

“Soon pati audience AI na din. kayo kayo na Magusap-usap,” Samuel Pagaduan jokingly commented. 

(Read more: Call Center Industry: Target Employment Possible, Despite AI Threat)

GMA Network’s Defense: For Innovation Purposes? 

In a statement, GMA Network explained that Maia and Marco are introduced for the purpose of “bringing the biggest news on NCAA Season 99 as well as updates on local and international sports featuring Filipino athletes on the social media platforms of GMA Integrated News, GMA Sports, and GMA Synergy.”

An earlier press release also explained that the introduction of the Kapuso AI sportscasters aligns with the network’s mission to serve the country by promoting inclusivity. 

“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,’” Senior Vice President and Head of Integrated News, Regional TV, and Synergy Oliver Victor Amoroso explained.

“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.”

(Read more: Call Center Industry: Target Employment Possible, Despite AI Threat)

Amoroso further clarified that the Kapuso AI sportscasters are just presenters and will not replace GMA’s sports journalists: 

“Maia and Marco are AI presenters, they are not journalists, they can never replace our seasoned broadcasters and colleagues who are the lifeblood of our organization. We are now living in the age of AI and other major news organizations worldwide are already using this as a tool to improve their operations.” 

(Read more: ChatGPT Transforms Business: Top Use Cases to Streamline Operations)

This was echoed by NMI Studios Head of Creatives Ramil Escarda, who emphasized that as technology advances, particularly AI, innovation should be accepted in any field.

“The creation of AI sportscasters isn’t meant to replace human reporters but rather to serve as an innovative platform for presenting information to the viewer. Finding creative ways to deliver news and tell compelling stories is the driving force behind GMA Network’s digital transformation and future-proofing efforts,” Escarda expounded. 

Maia and Marco will be part of the television commentary team and courtside reporters with NCAA Season 99 hosts Anton Roxas, Martin Javier, and Coach Hammer Antonio.

This article is published on BitPinas: INNOVATION OR DISREPECT? GMA’s AI Sportscasters Receive Mixed Reaction Online


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