Robotics in Football: NOT a distant dream anymore.

Yes that’s right, there’s an entire world cup being played completely by robots. Founded in 1996 by a group of Japanese scientists, the aim is to promote robotics and AI research, by offering an interesting, but difficult challenge.

Difficult is probably an understatement as currently these robots are worse at football than the current German national team, the one with the humans that is. I joke, of course, but the reality is the robotics involves MAS (Multi-Agent System) and DAI (Distributed Artificial Intelligence) as the main background. If you are scientifically challenged like me, what that means is that getting a team of machine humanoids to understand the nitty-gritty’s of a complex team sport like football is much tougher than you’d think.

The aim is to field a proper 11 machine unit by 2050 that will take on the current human world champions, which is laughable as of 2018. But given the rate at which technological advancements are moving forward, who knows where our robot compatriots may be by, say 2040.

An important thing to consider is that with proper refinements these robots will eliminate the chances of any “human-like” errors that could potentially cost them the game. Misplaced passes, off target shots and straight up blunders could all be a thing of the past considering that there are already 35 countries and 4000 humans dedicating their efforts to better the situation. Stamina of course will not be an issue and with the correct programming goalkeepers could turn out to be potentially unbeatable. These parameters only come into play once robots gain proper footballing sense and vision to reduce their current shortcomings but via leveraging multiple synergies involved in this entire process; they might actually be able to get this right.

So you might be thinking that if by 2050 a team of machines can potentially beat the Gods of the sport whom we all love so much, what else could technology be capable of offering or worse, imposing on us? We’ve all seen more than one movie where robots get too smart and end up posing as a real threat for humanity. Now I’m not saying that’s what the future holds am not denying it altogether, either.

So it’s definitely some food for thought but until then, we can take solace in the fact that as of now these robots can’t even kick a ball two feet without falling over and have no game sense whatsoever.

So Ro-hot or Ro-not? Take your pick.

By Abhishek Aggarwal



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