AI-powered Jack Nicklaus twin to launch this year

Digital Jack, an AI-powered interactive version of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus

Digital Jack, an AI-powered interactive version of Jack Nicklaus will launch later this year, to give fans a chance to quiz the Golden Bear about his career and seek out his advice about their own games.

L.A.-based Soul Machines is Nicklaus Companies’ partner on the project and worked extensively with Nicklaus to develop the digital version. Established in 2016, Soul Machines is in the business of creating digital characters with its Human OS Platform and Digital Brain technology.

“Jack will be the first athlete or celebrity to have an interactive, intuitive digital twin of himself,” said Greg Cross, co-founder and CEO of Soul Machines. “This unique offering will make a big impact on the industry.”

Added Nicklaus Brands president Andy O’Brien, “Imagine Jack Nicklaus being able to speak to future generations, interact with fans and do things like teach the game of golf in a dozen languages.”

Cross said it took six months to create Digital Jack. Computer Generated Imagery artists, Cross said, “brought Jack to life in a whole range of different applications in which fans can engage with him…and through our work with Microsoft to replicate his voice, Jack can speak Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, French, etc.”

At the outset, fans will be able to ask Nicklaus about his first major victory, the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont, when he out-duelled the local favourite, Arnold Palmer, in an 18-hole playoff for Nicklaus’ first of 18 major championship wins.

“We asked people of different ages, different genders, and it got down to No. 1, people wanted an insight into his majors and his life,” O’Brien said.

However Digital Jack renders, he also will be available to dispense game-improvement advice. Those who play Nicklaus-designed courses will eventually be able use their smartphones to ask him for tips on how to approach a specific hole. He will also talk about the courses he has designed.

“You’ll be able to walk around a PGA Tour event or your golf course, pull out your phone and hold it up like you’re FaceTiming Jack, and it will show Jack walking on the tee, and you’ll be talking to him, asking him questions,” Cross said.