Feeds

Robot footballers 'will beat Human Race first eleven by 2050'

Will presumably thrash England in about 3 or 4 years

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Claude Sammut is professor of computer science and engineering at New South Wales Uni down under, and is a successful manager in the RoboCup leagues. In a recent journal article examining the current standard of robot football and looking to the future, he writes:

In 1968, John McCarthy and Donald Michie made a bet with then Scottish chess champion, David Levy, that within 10 years a computer program would be able to beat him. It took a bit longer than 10 years (nearly 30) but eventually such programs came into being. In the same spirit of a grand challenge, RoboCup aims, by the year 2050, to develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team.

In chess at any rate the battle of man vs machine would seem to be pretty much over, in that only the human race's greatest grandmasters can even offer a proper computer a struggle. Even such humble machines as smartphones can nowadays play at ordinary grandmaster level.

In football, however, it's still all to play for. The current Aldebaran Nao players of the RoboCup leagues (pictured) aren't even at the jumpers-for-goalposts level yet, yet alone able to make the Rooneys and Beckhams of this world break a sweat.

As yet there is no such all-human-race team, for lack of credible opposition. But it does seem reasonable to suggest that one might be formed as soon as droid sides became able to beat lower-ranking Premier League or World Cup teams. Presumably this might happen some years before the eventual robot victory - we might be looking at forming up a Human Race first eleven as soon as 2040.

Sammut, as an experienced veteran manager in RoboCup, admits that his lads have a hill to climb before they can qualify for the World Cup. He also references legendary homophobia-persecution WWII hero codebreaker AI boffin Alan Turing, who would probably have been a top RoboCup manager today.

[The lads] will have to be able to sense and act in completely unstructured environments. [We're making 110 per cent effort on] perception, decision making, learning, and cooperative behaviors ... Robots are integrated hardware and software systems [and it's a game of two halves] ... In the words of Alan Turing ‘We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.’

Lest anybody should think that efforts by humanity to fashion the robotic footballers which will one day vanquish us at our most venerated pastimes are a waste of time, readers should note that the RoboCup leagues aren't all about football. There are also subsidiary events which offer concrete betterment for humanity as opposed to sporting humiliation.

We refer, of course, to the "robotic home helper" events - designed to lead one day to our long-promised robot butlers.

Read Sammut's in-depth roboball analysis here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.