back to article Robot footballers 'will beat Human Race first eleven by 2050'

A top Australian computing boffin, analysing the state of play in today's RoboCup droid football leagues, says that robotic footballers will be able to beat the best human players in the world by 2050. The Aldebaran Nao robot. Credit: Aldebaran Rumours of unsavoury off-pitch antics with pleasure units are completely unfounded …

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Am I the only one...

Why give it arms at all (other than goal keepers). doesn't need them for play. It must be quite a bit of programming to keep them out of the way. And if they are there for stabilization, a few gyros should do a better job.

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Are you kidding?

Argentina would like to disagree with that one. And France too, to a lesser extent.

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Duh...

You want to give them all our best tricks too?!

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FAIL

Robo-footy would be crap!

No bad days for players, no randomness, no unpredictability, the best programmed team would always win, every time... or 2 teams of identical robots would be locked in a stalemate... *yawn*.

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Terminator

Ah, but...

... then you start equipping them with lasers and guided missiles and directed EMP weapons... ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

no

It would make it interesting.

At the moment it's the same year in year out - rarely will someone develop a new technique or there be any sort of anything revolutionary.

Robots would make it more like formula1 where constant innovation ensures that it's kept interesting year after year (except when they have to change the rules when 1 team wins all the time!)

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Forget football, what about rugby?

I'd pay to see the English rugby team go up against a team of metal opponents. As would most of Wales, I suspect.

GJC

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Pint

@Geoff Campbell

I'm with you there boyo.

Have a leek (leak)

You'll need a pint first though.

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Very kind, I shall....

Pint of SA and a bowl of leek soup sounds good to me, now Autumn is here.

GJC

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FAIL

No they won't.

This Sammut guy is just flying Kevin Warwick-style kites to get his name on the internet. Robots will be able to shove other players out of the way in the air and get on the end of a cross from the right wing to score a header in the top corner will they? No they bloody won't.

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Vinnie Jones

How about if they fly in for a hard tackle or grab a human opponent by the nuts?

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FAIL

Who's your source

Lol do The Register get there news from watching episodes of The Gadget Show on channel 5?

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Yeeeeahhhh right...

So considering that it took another 30 years on from the original statement for chess computers to start beating humans regularly, we are realistically looking at 2080 until this becomes reality?

I can see the point of chess computers in terms of progression of programming strategy etc, but I really can't see the point of football playing robots. I'm not saying it won't happen, I just think it highly unlikely - and somewhat pointless.

Surely a robot surgeon would be a better investment of someones time, or robot clearance divers, or even soldiers. But footballers? WTF?

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Longer than that...

"So considering that it took another 30 years on from the original statement for chess computers to start beating humans regularly, we are realistically looking at 2080 until this becomes reality?"

The bet was 10 years, it took 30 - three times longer than predicted.

So if "in the same spirit" they're predicting the Soccerbots will be beating us in 70 years' time - keep your eyes peeled during World Cup 2222 (where RoboBaddiel/RoboSkinner will be re-releasing their catchy "256 years of hurt" song)

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Stop

Re: Yeeeeahhhh right

It's not just for that, it's a fine technology demonstrator so hugely numerous other applications will also be possible. It's like saying English only developed so Shakespeare could write his works.

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Joke

It's all well and good....

...but one day the lead Robo-striker will end up in all the papers having cheated on his robot wife with a top of the range vacuum cleaner, simply because of the exxtra suction.

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Happy

Forget about android footballers...

... I'm waiting for the gynoids that Ghost in the Shell Innocence predicts.

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Terminator

tackle!

can't wait to see one of the meat-bag players try to tackle something with solid metal legs and no pain receptors!!!

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Anonymous Coward

But...

...will they be over paid nancy robots?

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Looking forward to

.... a football player that can survive a Scholes tackle.

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Joke

Primadonna robot footballers!

Do the robot players also get programmed to roll on the floor if another player gets within 6 inches of them during a tackle!

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Terminator

Decepticons?

Compu-boffins are already working on robots that can deceive, and presumably Latin American scientists are training them to auto-drop whenever their team is ahead with less than 20min to play...

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WTF?

So disappointed

I thought this was going to be another Captain Cyborg (Kevin Warwick) story, whatever happened to him anyway?

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Terminator

Wow...

...God bless YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIuRc1r_N34

It must only be a matter of time before they can pull the AI programming out of the Brazil / Real Madrid / Scunthorpe team from PS3 FIFA, stick it in one of these things, and hey presto, a little robotic Messi!

I for one welcome our new dancing and soon-to-be-football-World-Cup-winning robotic overlords

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Cute!

So how long is it until ballet-bots are able to rival their equivalent human performers?

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Joke

It's going to be a bit unfair on the human players . .

what with all the HT leads trailing across the grass from the pitch-side generators!

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prime directives ?

I wondered about arms/fingers but there are also throw-ins...

Will these machines obey Azimov's 3 prime directives? I imagine an aggressive robot player might be intimidating and prevent tackling ? The flip side is, if they forbear the risk of causing injury their tackling would be inadequate...

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Anonymous Coward

In 2050??

They could probably beat England now!!!

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Joke

based on their world cup performance

a slightly mouldy turnip could beat England now

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Joke

Robots will NEVER beat Italy...

.. unless you can make a robotic acrobatic diving team, that is.

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Terminator

Lovely urges

Did anyone else have the uncontrollable urge to smash that robots head in with anything nearby to see if it would fight back?

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Coat

And the point of this is?

Look back on the 60s and 70s, when chess grand masters like Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer were international celebrities. How many chess grand masters do you see in the news these days? I would say that this is directly linked to people knowing that the best grand masters would be hard pressed by their AI opponents. And nobody is really lining up to see whatever iteration of Deep Blue that is cooked up by IBM take on all comers at chess.

So I guess our future is that we build robots that can play soccer, but in doing so we destory international football as a professional sport? Do people really want to pay to watch machines play soccer with other machines?

Sounds like a waste of programming time there. Surely, even a game as simple as soccer requires a mountain of programming so that the droids don't just go charging into eachother or run through the goal net or sit there motionless when the ball is kicked out of bounds.

I'm glad I won't live to see it--but then perhaps my brain will be downloaded into an android body and I will see it!!

Mines the one with the EMP-hardened, rust-proof shell....

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Happy

We choose to do this thing....

"So I guess our future is that we build robots that can play soccer, but in doing so we destory international football as a professional sport? "

One can only hope, with the most sincere of hearts, that this is so.

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Chess

"I would say that this is directly linked to people knowing that the best grand masters would be hard pressed by their AI opponents."

Really? I'd say it's more to do with the fact that the cold war's over (and Afghanistan is generally speaking crap at chess. Also, the Taliban banned it.) With the subsidiary factor that none of today's grandmasters are as wonderfully insane as Bobby Fischer.

There's popular sports that a robot could already do better than a person; I imagine someone could cobble together a robot golfer in a year or so that would shoot 30 under par on any course you care to name (all it needs is a course map, rangefinder and a wind sensor, some utterly basic logic, and the swing mechanics from any club/ball testing robot, and Bob's your uncle. Yes, it'd be harder to design one that could play really creative shots, but it wouldn't *need* to, as it'd be in the middle of the fairway after a 360 yard drive on every hole.) Doesn't mean no-one cares about the Ryder Cup. (Insert joke about only dull middle-aged white men caring about the Ryder Cup here, if you must.)

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Yes but

Will they be able to fake <strike>injury</strike>damage, apply for super-injunctions, and sleep with prozzies?

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soccer != chess

Chess is easy for computers. There are only a few possible moves per turn; with proper optimizations and enough brute force, you can just explore the most likely parts of the state space and pick the best choice. That approach is unfeasible for games with an exponentially larger move set than chess (e.g. Go), and it just plain doesn't work for the physical world.

The prediction might come true, but if it does, the merit will go more to mechanical engineers than to computer scientists.

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tactics v robotics

Chess computers are like football managers. They talk a good game but can they actually perform out on the pitch?

I have yet to see Deep Blue, Deep Fritz, etc walk into a conference room and actually move the chess pieces themselves!

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Form a circle lads

Couldn't the human players simply form a circle around the ball and walk it into the net?.... I assume the robots wouldn't be able to use force, such as shoulder barging an opponent.

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Stop

I really can't see this ever happening...

...not with professional players, anyway. For a start, a 'Human Race XI' doesn't exist as yet and as such there's no reason for clubs to release their players for such a match. The main reason why they wouldn't release them though (as they do for testimonials, charity games etc) is the risk of injury.

A robot player will be able to tackle without fear of getting hurt itself. It would take quite a whack from a human opponent to render the machine 'injured' but would be able to dish out Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown style tackles time after time.

Also, throw-ins would turn into massively attacking set-pieces at all times. You can't be offside from a throw-in and if a robot could be developed to have very strong arms they could turn the most defensive, keep-them-in-the-corner style throw-in into something where they could hit the opposition penalty spot each and every time. JShel, that's why they'd need arms!

So, my view is that robot teams will only ever play against robot teams in any serious way. Lower level teams will play friendlies against them, but only for the coverage and money it would generate, and the novelty wouldn't last long.

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Yes but

"I can see the point of chess computers in terms of progression of programming strategy etc, but I really can't see the point of football playing robots. I'm not saying it won't happen, I just think it highly unlikely - and somewhat pointless.

Surely a robot surgeon would be a better investment of someones time, or robot clearance divers, or even soldiers. But footballers? WTF?"

Ah but the learning curve is immense, and i'd rather see the quite predictable errors & mishaps that will surely occur happen on a football pitch and not in my or someone else's internal organs.

Paris. Doctors & Nurses.

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