The CEO of Second Spectrum gave an excellent TED talk describing how they apply advanced machine learning (spatiotemporal pattern recognition in video streams) to the creation of practical tools for NBA coaches.
For anyone thinking about building a domain specific AI solution the key lesson here is that machine learning expertise is a pre-requisite for success but is not the fundamental driver of success.  It is deep understanding of the target domain that drives success.

The key phrase in the whole presentation is “we have taught a machine to see with the eyes of a coach“.  Their key added value is not providing computer vision but is translating what the computer sees into the concepts and terminology used in that particular domain.

The Second Spectrum tool has had to learn dozens and dozens of basketball concepts and  learn how to categorize the full range of real world variations of these concepts.  In the video he uses the single example of learning the “pick and roll” concept to illustrate these complexity.

Watch the video and ask yourself are you as passionate about putting yourself in the shoes of your users as is the team at Second Spectrum?  That is the passion that will build great applied AI projects.


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