What would a sport designed by artificial intelligence look like? Well thanks to design agency AKQA, this hypothetical question has been put to the test, and the result is Speedgate. The AI-designed strapline is “face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball.”
Despite this slightly nonsensical tag, Speedgate has emerged as a plausible if somewhat baffling team sport – although to get to that point AKQA had to jettison some more outlandish ideas, as the world probably isn’t ready for exploding frisbees just yet.
After feeding the artificial intelligence the rules for 400 competitive sports, this is what it came up with. Two teams of six move a rugby-style ball around a pitch comprising of three gates. Points can only be scored once the ball has been booted through the middle gate, and then teams race to kick the ball through the gate (at either end). Two points for a shot through the gates, plus a bonus one if it goes in off the post. Oh, and the ball has to move at least once every three seconds, so no hogging it.
If that all sounds a bit confusing, you can read a more thorough explainer of the rules here.
“If I was talking to my buddy walking down the street, I would say that we used AI to create a new sport that pulls the best of rugby, soccer, ultimate frisbee and croquet,” AKQA creative director Whitney Jenkins told Techcrunch.
You can see it in action in the video below.
Whether it’s actually fun to play or watch is another matter, of course, but it’s pretty much undeniable that humans wouldn’t have come up with this on their own, for better or for worse.
AKQA is currently in talks with the Oregon Sports Authority with plans to start a league in the summer, so I guess we’ll see if there’s demand. And if you think there’s no room for sports to emerge from nowhere, it’s worth noting that Quidditch – the magical sport invented for the Harry Potter books – now has a small but dedicated following amongst non-wizards for its less magical, real-world version.
Does Speedgate sound wonderful or dreadful? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.