The IOC plans to deploy AI to protect athletes from online bullying

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The IOC plans to deploy AI to protect athletes from online bullying

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced its plan to address mental wellness issues among athletes, using the 2024 Paris Olympics as the launching pad for its campaign.

One significant aspect of this initiative involves protecting athletes from the harmful effects of online trolling. The recent struggles experienced by two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge highlight the negative impact of social media, where pernicious assaults and unfounded rumors can severely affect professionals’ lives.

During the buzz surrounding the Paris Olympics, Kipchoge found himself wrongly accused of being responsible for the untimely demise of fellow Kenyan marathon runner Kelvin Kiptum. In an interview with BBC Sports Africa, Kipchoge shared how these trolls affected him, leading to a poor performance at the Tokyo Marathon and even threats to his family’s safety.

In response to cases like Kipchoge’s and many others, the International Olympic Committee has developed a measure that utilizes AI to proactively identify and address online abuse directed towards athletes on a large scale.”

“Following the success of this pilot, the IOC has engaged with a leading data science company to provide its Threat Matrix proactive investigation service to support the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

The service shall be available to all competing athletes and is open to all entourage members and technical officials. This is the first time that such a tool will be utilised to protect so many athletes competing in so many disciplines at the same time and should also help us to better understand the challenges athletes face related to online abuse.

“If you will be competing at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, and you have a public-facing social media channel you will be automatically covered. However, if you would like to opt out of this service, you are able to do so before the service begins and at any time during the service. Please check the dedicated FAQs for more details,” the IOC said in a statement.

On his part, Eliud Kipchoge who is the latest victim of cyber abuse believes the initiative by the IOC is a good step moving forward and it will save a lot of athletes from trolls.

ALSO READ:Tearful Kipchoge narrates how being wrongly linked to Kiptum’s death affected his family

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