SentientSports bolsters leadership by hiring Prof. Nick Jennings

SentientSports, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company who are revolutionising the sports industry by unlocking the full potential of AI in sporting organisations have announced the addition of Professor Nick Jennings to its senior leadership team.


As Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University, Professor Jennings will help Sentient Sports use Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automatically identify and block the toxic content online in real time and improve the safety of professional football players as well as adding value across a number of other AI applications for teams and fans.


Internationally recognised as one of the leading computer scientists, with over 95,000 citations to his name, Professor Jennings is the current Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University, who are consistently named the world’s best universities for Sport.


Elsewhere, he has previously held roles as the Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise at Imperial College London, along with becoming the UK’s first Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and the first Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security for the UK Government.

Throughout his career, he has been involved in a number of successful startups within the tech sector and was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2016 for his services to computer science and national security science.

Commenting on his arrival, Professor Jennings said: “Joining SentientSports is a brilliant opportunity for me to apply my expertise in AI to real-world issues in the sports industry. I’m eager to work alongside Ryan and the team to enhance fan engagement and tackle the pressing challenge of online abuse towards players.”


He added: “I am passionate about sports, so combining my passion with my work motivates me and I’m looking forward to collaborating with the team to help them become world leaders in the AI and sports industry.”


Professor Jennings’ appointment sees him join an already established board at Sentient Sports, which is made up of three generations of AI talent. Professor Jennings was PhD supervisor to Professor Gopal Ramchurn, who chairs the board and is a prominent figure in the AI community. Professor Ramchurn is also a Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Southampton and similarly mentored Dr. Ryan Beal, CEO and founder of SentientSports, who was recently announced on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Sports List for 2024.


This latest appointment continues an exciting phase of board-level expansion for Southampton based Sentient Sports following the appointment of former Manchester United Chief Executive Ed Woodwood as a Strategic Advisor and Non-Executive Board Member in November last year.


Ed Woodward said: “Nick is a fantastic addition to our board. His appointment significantly enhances our ability to address the challenges we’ve identified within sports teams. His expertise in AI, coupled with his experience at Loughborough working alongside UK sports leaders, will be invaluable to us.”


Dr. Ryan Beal, CEO and founder of SentientSports said: “We are thrilled to have Nick join our board. He has been at the forefront of some of the most significant AI research and brings generational AI talent to our team. His PhD supervision of Gopal, who in turn supervised me, shows the depth of expertise he brings.”


Commenting further he said: “By leveraging cutting-edge AI technology, our aim is to build sophisticated AI agents across social media platforms and news outlets. These agents will be equipped to automatically detect abusive content, initiate legal takedown procedures, and alert the relevant authorities. Additionally, our AI tools will help sports clubs identify players at risk of such abuse, enabling timely intervention with appropriate support and training.”


He added: “Guided by Nick’s extensive experience in various AI domains, one of our key commitments at Sentient is to create a safer and more supportive environment for athletes online.”


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