No, this video does not show a table tennis match between a robot and a human

By: Emincan Yüksel
August 9 2023

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No, this video does not show a table tennis match between a robot and a human


The Verdict False

The video was digitally manipulated from a table tennis match between Yang Wang and Pavel Sirucek in April 2023.

Claim ID 2fc721a7


On July 24, 2023, a social media account in Türkiye tweeted a video of a table tennis match between a robot and a human. The tweet quickly gained momentum, going viral on various social media platforms and amassing 1.8 million views, 4,200 likes, and 800 retweets as of August 8. The video purportedly showcases an athlete engaging in a game of table tennis with an actual robot, captivating audiences and sparking curiosity about the integration of robotics in sports. The video was also widely shared outside of Türkiye. However, the robot is not real.

The rapid advancement of technology has significantly increased the prevalence of robots in every day life in recent years. This has sparked frequent discussions among the public about the role robots will play in the future. Moreover, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has led to fake videos and news featuring robots and lifelike human representations. 

In fact

The English captions on the video read, “will humans ever beat robots? Is it only the beginning?” The video also features Dutch captions, which, when translated, read, “how do you think they shoot?” Close examination of the video reveals distortions, raising suspicions of possible image manipulation or montage.

Further investigation using reverse image search reveals that the earliest post related to this video dates back to July 22, 2023. The video was shared from a TikTok account known for sharing 3D content. Comments on the post indicate doubts about the video's authenticity, while the account features several other videos with robots in similar scenarios.

Additional image searches using screenshots from the video unveiled the original video, which depicts a table tennis match between Chinese-born Slovak player Yang Wang and Czech player Pavel Sirucek. The video was taken from the qualification matches for the European men's team championship held on March 22, 2023. This original video is available on the official YouTube channel of the Czech Table Tennis Federation.

The video was digitally altered to replace the Slovakian player, Yang Wang, with a robot. This alteration is clearly visible in the videos. In the original video, Wang is observed from around the 00:54 timestamp. Yang Wang's defense at that point, followed by an artistic score hit, is likely one of the reasons why the manipulated video has gained significant popularity and has been widely shared, along with the original.

The verdict

In this video, a robot and a human are not playing a table tennis match. This video has been digitally altered. It was taken from a match between Yang Wang and Pavel Sirucek, and Wang was digitally replaced with a robot. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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