In the bloodless war between computers and referees, computers win 100% of the time.
Research shows that baseball umpires are less likely to call a strike after they’ve called the previous pitch a strike.
Soccer referees flub offside calls all the time. Why wouldn’t they? They are asked to judge a split-second half-centimeter difference in player positioning from twenty meters away.
Funny thing is, after the blown call, the TV broadcast rewinds and replays the action in slow motion. Neon lines materialize and frame the play. High-definition lenses confer with powerful computer servers, and we have a near-instant, perfect judgment of what we just watched. The information is both thrilling and useless, like finding out a high school crush really liked you, 20 years later.
Why don’t we simply replace those near-sighted, weak-willed meat bags with infallible, unswayable robo-refs?
Because deep down, we like the chaos of it all. Because when shit goes sideways and our guy or gal misses the line by a nose hair (or did they?), we need a person to blame, a human voodoo doll to stick our pins.We need an idiot.
Ideally, computers would watch Them, and nervous humans would watch Us. At the end of the day, we want a fair game. But for Them, it should be extra fair.