Robot Soccer Games

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Robot Soccer Games

Future robot adversaries?

© iStockphoto.com/D4Fish

It's difficult to even comprehend all the ways we might interact with robots by 2050. It's possible that robots will be conducting routine surgeries or piloting our airplanes. They could be conducting search and rescue missions or fighting in wars. One researcher even predicts that by 2050, we could be having sex with and marrying robots [source: Choi].

But when it comes to having fun either now or in 2050, you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than outside in the beautiful sun, enjoying a sporting event. What might change by 2050, though, is who's playing. Roboticists predict that by 2050, they will have developed autonomous robots that will be able to beat the best soccer players in the world [source: Peterson]. That's right, by 2050, we could see Robots vs. Humans in the contest for the World Cup. Now that will fill some bars and basements!

These robots won't just be wired with the steps for winning a soccer game. Rather, roboticists are working now to train robots how to play soccer by using human models. The robots are presented with data that shows how humans respond to a series of soccer plays, so that when the robot is presented with the same setups, they have choices in how to respond. These robots will be able to perceive the play and act accordingly. If you want a glimpse of the future, check out the RoboCup games, in which researchers test out their current "players" and share information with one another. So far, there are no robotic concession workers for these events.

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