Speedgate, The World's First Sport Invented By Artificial Intelligence


Sports in general, include all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and/or skills while providing enjoyment to participants and spectators.

There are hundreds if not thousands of sports that exist throughout human civilizations, and all of them have roots in human tradition.

This time, design agency AKQA has introduced Speedgate, reportedly the first sport envisioned by an AI.

In the event, a team consisting of six players (three forwards, three defenders) that compete on a field with three open-ended gates. The rule is for the team to kick the ball through the center gate, to unlock gates at the end of the field to score points.

The team scores 2 points if they can kick the ball through the end gate. But if one the team member can catch the scoring ball and kicks it back through the end gate again (ricochet), the team will earn 3 points.

Initially, the game can be played using a rugby training ball, that at least until regulation Speedgate balls hit the market.

Speedgate game
People playing the Speedgate game (image: playspeedgate.org)

AKQA created the AI which created the game, by feeding the neural network on data about 400 existing sports. The AI then goes to work to create the basic sports concepts and and their rules.

Most of the games created by the AI were completely unrealistic; with one of them was exploding Frisbees. The team at AKQA took the list of the new sports the AI created and filtered it down to three that had eligible characteristics, such as not dying during play.

Here, the team finally decided Speedgate to be the winner.

The agency even used AI to develop the game's logo and its motto ("face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball").

"We used deep learning algorithms, from text-generating RNNs to image-generating DCGANs, to create ideas for every aspect of this new, unique sport," said the team at AKQA. "Unique in every way, Speedgate combines the elements present in croquet, rugby and soccer."

According to its website at playspeedgate.org:

"Speedgate is fun, fast and physical, relying heavily on teamwork and passing to score and win."

"Going all out for victory is applauded, but it should never come at the expense of having an awesome time. Speedgate is all about enjoyment, inclusivity and sportsmanship."

AI can do a lot of things, and this has been proven by the many capabilities the artificial brain can manage.

Speedgate is considered to be first sport invented by AI. It has no aim to replace any existing sport, but is showing an example of how AI can be useful even in human-centric fields like sports.

While the sport was created as an exercise for Design Week, AKQA is talking to the Oregon Sports Authority about Speedgate. The company encourages others to start their own leagues.