Sky tapping into artificial intelligence with new partnership with GameOn Technology

In conjunction with the launch of their new app, the Sky became the third WNBA team to get into the AI game.

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GameOn’s AI chat is available to Sky fans through the team’s redeveloped app and will be available on the team’s website Friday.

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The Sky are tapping into a new resource to expand their business objectives: artificial intelligence.

In conjunction with the launch of their new app, the Sky became the third WNBA team to get into the AI game, partnering with GameOn Technology, a company specializing in AI chat.

‘‘A big part of this is about focusing on the end user, the fan,’’ Alex Beckman, the CEO of GameOn Technology, told the Sun-Times. ‘‘What the Sky and GameOn agree on is we can take the conversation to them and make it good business.’’

The Aces and Fever became the first WNBA franchises to launch the AI chat when they added the feature to their websites in March. Beckman’s goal is to work with all 12 WNBA franchises by the end of the year.

GameOn and the Sky have been working together since January to bring the chat function to fans this season. It’s currently available through the Sky’s redeveloped app and will be available on the team’s website Friday and on Facebook Messenger in the future.

The conversational chat allows fans to ask questions ranging from ‘‘When is the Sky’s next game?’’ to ‘‘What are Kahleah Copper’s averages?’’

In an instant, the AI chat responds by using information gathered from the Sky’s website. This feature gives the team complete brand control over the information being provided. The team also can limit what questions the AI chat can answer. If, for example, the Sky don’t post game highlights, the chat won’t be able to pull them up, if asked.

‘‘Every piece of information we have comes from our client,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘What the platform does is connect with any database the Sky has to answer those questions.’’

Specific questions the chat can’t answer will return a generic response, prompting users to select from a list of available resources. If, for example, a fan asks, ‘‘When did Copper win Finals MVP?’’ they aren’t going to get an answer. Instead, they will be provided with Copper’s most recent stats and an option to follow her player profile.

Beckman said his company is focused on being responsible. If there is a question the chat can’t answer, the technology will acknowledge that by providing one of those generic responses, as opposed to fans seeing ‘‘AI hallucinations.’’

‘‘When AI doesn’t know the answer, AI sometimes doesn’t admit it doesn’t know the answer,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘It likes to make up an answer. AI is being programmed by humans to think like humans. So when it’s a question it should know the answer to but doesn’t have the exact answer in its data set, it makes up an answer. That’s a hallucination.’’

The partnership with GameOn is one of several digital developments the Sky focused on this offseason. The Sky’s app, which relaunched Tuesday, was another. It was retooled with the company Raw Engineering, which also is responsible for developing apps for several NBA teams, including the Kings and Grizzlies.

‘‘[The updated app] should provide better technology and new capabilities in the future, including loyalty programs down the road,’’ said Tania Haladner, the Sky’s vice president of integrated marketing. ‘‘But the biggest change will be better design and better functionality.’’

When fans arrive for the Sky’s home opener Friday against the Mystics, they will see more merchandise, including player jerseys. The Sky partnered with Campus Customs to provide broad options online and in person. Team-shop locations will be available on the upper concourse level, and there will be a newly added shop for courtside ticket holders.

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