The recent FIFA World Cup Finals 2006 at Berlin brought Football Buffs at one place. Crores of people leaned over their TV Sets and watched the FIFA World Cup being played in Germany. They watched for the style and follicular foibles of Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Rooney and many others. They came to see Zidane’s head butt on Marco Matterazzi and to see the emotions of the Football Players.
But, the one they see in 2050 will not be similar to this one. Artificial Intelligence Researchers are trying to build fully autonomous Robots to take on World Cup Champions, as Robocop 2006 showed. They are not nimble footed as their Human counterparts but they can score a goal or two. They are quite awkward when it comes to tackling opponents and are hardly aware of what a foul is. They don’t have much of a following either because they don’t have technical finesse to show off. They don’t have any kind of style or follicular foibles to attract Football Buffs. They only have Technological aficionados as their supporters who believe that these Hi-Tech Players are slowly making great strides towards challenging real Soccer Champions of the Game by the end of 2050- somewhat like the Computer Deep Thought taking on Chess Grand Masters like Gary Kasparov and Vishwanathan Anand.
While people across the world were busy wowing the artistry of the likes of Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham, these Humanoids or Robots had a field day fighting for the Robocup 2006in Bremen, Germany. The 10th Annual Soccer Championship for Robots held at the Bremen Exhibition Center, from 14th June to 20th June , had 440 teams from 36 Countries including the US, China, Japan, Portugal and France . While the FIFA World Cup threw out one Victorious Team the Robocup had 33 Winners. 11 of them were German Teams. Though there were no Headers and no players ripping of jerseys after a win, some of the other trappings of the game were definitely seen- blocked shots, penalty cards, to name just two.
So, indeed human teams need to have more practice and skills to defeat the AI Robots in Home-Robocup 2050. If not then it might be after 2050 we take up Robots as our own heroes. There might be a Robo-Zidane and a Robo-Beckham who would be the Soccer Icons then. Well, if you are a Spectator at the Homo-Robo Cup 2050 then you might find in the stadium sitting with you other Robotic Fans cheering up their own Robot Teams.