Japan Says That What the 2020 Olympics Needs Is Robot Athletes

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 22 2014 1:55 PM

Japan Says That What the 2020 Olympics Needs Is Robot Athletes

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Would these robots competing in the 2014 RoboCup German Open tournament even qualify for the robot olympics?

Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

It’s fun to follow the Olympics, but something is missing. It’s certainly not human narratives or drama. It’s not excitement. It’s robots. Where are the robots? Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has the same question, and since Japan is hosting the 2020 summer games in Tokyo, he’s in a position to do something about it.

Agence France-Presse reports that Abe is laying groundwork. He announced last week that Japan is putting together a task force to expand the country’s robotics industry as well as the market for robots. Japan’s Jiji Press agency reports that Abe said, “We want to make robots a major pillar of our economic growth strategy.”

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But most importantly, he said he wants to organize a Robot Olympics. “In 2020 I would like to gather all of the world's robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,” Abe said, according to the AFP. Between robot-assisted parathletes at Cybathlon and the Robot Olympics, this is going to be the decade of robot sports. Finally.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

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