Well, it finally happened. I had been waiting two years since I first heard about it. The FIRST ROBOT BATTLE!! This was a challenge laid down two years ago by Matt Oehrlein and Gui Cavalcanti, co-founders of MegaBots to the Japanese Suidobashi CEO and founder Kogoro Kurata. They met in Japan in September of 2017 to finally see who has the nuts and bolts to kick some metal butt! You can see the carnage right hear on YouTube.
I don't want to sound too much like a geek, but I thought it was an amazing challenge of hardware, imagination, and ingenuity. I judge this to be a good first match of many matches to come as robot mechanisms become more sophisticated. There are plenty of robot gladiator tournaments out there, but they are all small and entertaining in their own way. But if you are drawn to the extreme, and you want to see a robot beat the other one up with a car, then this is the outlet for you!
An important thing to mention is that these robots were not remote controlled. Both robots had drivers strapped in. That's a physical commitment similar to being in a demolition derby. In the future they most likely will end up as remotely controlled semi-autonomous robots like the ones in 'Real Steel'. I have been attracted to the idea since I saw someone play 'Rock'em Sock'em Robots' by Mattel back in the '60s. Ya know, they're still making them today! Pick one up. It's still fun!
The future is filled with lots of unexpected amazing and awful things. Every age has them. They are just as terrifying as any fundamental discoveries made throughout history. Will we use it for good or evil? History tells us both. This is because humans have both beautiful dreams and horrible nightmares. The real trick to a better future is to accentuate the good and suppress as much as possible the bad. Maybe we will 'modify' ourselves to eliminate evil. Would that be a bad thing in itself?
I see these robots for good. Good examples would be construction robots that can pick up large pipes and steel to stack and place them around a site. It would not replace a crane, but it could if it had an elevator body. It only takes imagination and engineering. Underwater robots could be used on the continental shelf to build under water cities!
I also see robots for evil. Most notably militarized forms of robots. They may start out as sentries and defensive weapons on installations, to robot cops like in the movie 'Robocop'. Or outright military offensive weapons like the ones used in the movie 'Avatar'. And of course you have the good robot gone rogue stories as well. Dealing with these issues are just as complicated as figuring out what to do with atomic bombs. People will make them. Then, we will have to figure out what to do with them. It is the same with other technologies that are looming on our immediate future: cloning, artificial intelligence, The Internet of Things to name a few. But, those are topics for another time.
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