GMA defends decision to introduce first AI sportscasters


GMA Network stood its ground after drawing concerns over the launch of their first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated sportscasters.

The Kapuso network officially introduced virtual sportscasters Maia and Marco at the opening ceremony of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 99 on Sunday. 

“The newest Kapuso AI sportscasters are set to bring 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 GMAIN, GMA Sports, and GMA Synergy,” the Kapuso network said in a report. 

Maia and Marcos were AI-generated using Image Generation, Text-to-Speech AI Voice Synthesis/Generation, and Deep Learning Face Animation Technology.

GMA Network said its “bold step towards the future of sports broadcasting” is a collaborative effort between GMA Integrated News (GMAIN), GMA New Media Inc. (NMI), and GSynergy. 

According to Oliver Victor B. Amoroso (Senior Vice President and Head of Integrated News, Regional TV, and Synergy), the digital initiative “aligns with our mission to serve all communities within the nation and promote inclusivity in our reporting”. 

“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,” he added. 

This, however, drew flak from the online community, with most netizens expressing disappointment on AI taking over the news presentation. 

Others also find it “unsettling” and “saddening” that humans could be at risk of losing their jobs with the presence of AI. 

“I really don’t see this as ‘inclusivity’. I get that journalism has embraced the fast changing world but not all trends should be hyped like this. There are far more talented people out there that can perfectly fit this job.”

“This is unsettling. There are countless skilled humans capable of performing brilliantly in those tasks.

“Also, sports are heavily driven by passion, excitement, and human drama. An AI might lack the ability to convey the emotional highs and lows of a game, reducing viewer engagement.”

“Susme, may mga totoong tao na pwedeng announcers. May trabaho na sila, mas may feelings pa ang perspective nila.”

“I don’t think this is something that the human race will be happy & enthusiastic about. This is in fact a sad day for all of us. Technology is slowly replacing humans in all fields.”

Students taking up journalism-related courses also aired grievances about the matter online.

“Wow what a way to indirectly discourage Mass Com students.” 

“As Communication Graduate, nakakalungkot at nakakabahala ito. Isa ito sa madilim na bahagi ng Innovation at Technology at maging sa mga mag-aaral sa larangan ng pamamahayag.”

“Nag aral ka, nag pursue ka sa masscom, nangarap ka maging reporter, nangarap ka pumasok sa GMA. tas bibiglain ka nila ng AI reporter.

After much discussion online, GMA Network maintained in a report that its introduction of AI sportscasters meant to “complement and not replace the human aspect of our coverage”.

“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,” stated Amoroso.

“As the leading news organization in the Philippines, we will constantly look for ways to hone our craft, while preserving the value of our human assets and the integrity of our reporting,” Amoroso added, citing several countries who have turned to AI technology in the media industry.

Assistant Vice President and Deputy Head for GMA Integrated News Social Media Aileen Rae Perez also remarked: “Instead of seeing creativity and innovation as a threat, we hope that this initiative will start a healthy discourse on how generative AI could help news organizations improve the way we do modern journalism.”

Lyka Nicart
Lyka Nicart
Lyka Nicart wanders on the internet, hearts Kpop (and ofc her bias), loves everything purple. When she's not writing, she's fighting with her dear cat.