Digital agency AKQA recently commissioned a recurrent neural network to craft an entirely new sport. The Design Week Portland project processed data from over 400 sports around the globe, outputting more than 1,000 concepts. Humans then combed through the candidates to narrow the field down to just 10. From there, three games were field tested with Speedgate emerging as the favorite.
Speedgate combines elements of soccer, rugby and croquet to create a new game that Creative Director Whitney Jenkins said could never have been created by humans alone.
The game is played with two teams of six – three forwards and three defenders per side – on a field with three open-ended gates. Players advance the ball by passing or kicking it; critically, you must route it through the center gate first before being eligible to score on an end gate. A standard goal is worth two points but if you have a teammate on the other side of the gate to immediately kick it back through, it’ll be good for three points.
Speedgate doesn’t permit shoving, elbowing or tackling so it should be relatively safe for players of all ages.
AI even lent a hand in creating logos for the sport and a clumsy motto: “Face the ball to be the ball to be above the ball.”