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No one's irreplaceable.

Chat GPT is 2023’s first social media darling

The chatbot, launched last November by OpenAI, uses artificial intelligence to synthesize all available data and generate text based on written prompts that’s so good it’s nearly impossible to detect the artifice or discount its intelligence.

The buzz has been growing steadily since its release and social media is packed with opinions about how best to apply it and debating whether it spells doom for content creators abound.

Certainly, a month in, it’s too soon to predict if Chat GPT will replace the need for human story-tellers or, if it’s another flash in the pan, abandoned like Facebook and Google’s earlier attempts at this type of technology. Those efforts were scrapped when, weirdly, both created their own internal languages. (Who doesn’t think that has some shades of a sci-fi thriller written all over it!)

Chat GPT isn’t the first and it won’t be the last technology threatening to disrupt the status quo. No industry or profession is immune from obsolescence.

Take professional tennis, for example.

The game’s been around for more than 800 years. The professional tour started in the late 1960’s and today includes dozens of international tournaments, including four premier, grand slam events where the tour’s elite converge to vie for top prize money and a place in the history books - (which is now just a figure of speech, not an actual set of books!)

The half-dozen or so highly-trained and eagle-eyed line judges needed for every match have been a part of the sport for decades and considered essential for ensuring a fair, impartial match.

It would have been impossible to imagine a professional tennis match without them - until 2020 and a worldwide pandemic.

Like every other industry, tennis scrambled to move forward and assess every aspect of the game - even the fans themselves were eliminated as unnecessary liabilities.

The line judges were easy to replace.

Electronic ball tracking systems had been in use in tennis since 2005, primarily as a back-up on close calls when players requested it. As technology improved they were often used by announcers along with instant replays to confirm rulings on the court. Players became comfortable with their use and then, mostly, comfortable with their accuracy.

So electronic line calling became the norm during the crisis and players adjusted.

Now, in 2023, vaccines have helped us return to normalcy and made public events possible again and tennis seems to have bounced back to its former self without a scratch. Players and fans alike seem grateful to be back. But the courts are a little less crowded than they used to be. With little fanfare, the Australian Open announced that human line judges have been permanently replaced by electronic ball tracking.


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