WADA to use artificial intelligence in the fight against dopers

Lance Armstrong doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency is on a search—not just for athletes using drugs to gain an unfair advantage, but for proposals for using artificial intelligence to help catch those athletes.

WADA’s director general Olivier Niggli has told the organisation believes artificial intelligence can be used to quickly analyse the vast amounts of data collected on athletes and raise red flags to better target testing.

“We’re having discussions on artificial intelligence going forward. There’s a lot of promising things.”

“There’s a lot of data that is being collected in anti-doping – whether it is through the [athlete biological] passports, through the tests, through the results of the athletes. If you manage to create a system that will meaningfully use this data I think you can create some very powerful tools.”

It is hoped that developing the right algorithms would help WADA manage its limited financial and human resources to target cheats.

“Only sophisticated algorithms would be able to spot the differences, which would allow the anti-doping organisations to focus on the right individuals,” Niggli said.

“I hope that in five years we will be much better at analysing all this data that we already have and are already collected. It’s a complex world which requires complex answers.”


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