What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Would You Watch a Robot Olympics?

July 28, 2014, 9:30 AM
Robot_athlete

What's the Latest?

The machines have already started taking our jobs. Are they now after our sports as well? Who in the world will stop them?

We can probably count out Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who last week said he wants his country to host a robot skills competition alongside the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Whether Mr. Abe is in league with the machines is still to be determined, but it's already apparent that the prime minister intends for the games to showcase Japan's status as a leader in robotics and other futuristic technologies. 

What's the Big Idea?

The conspiracy theorizing above is a joke, but Abe's plan for a robot Olympics isn't. Many outlets have reported that the prime minister intends to form a committee tasked with organizing the event. It's too early to know what the competition will look like (Abe wasn't exactly detailed in his declaration) but contests such as RoboCup and the DRC could potentially serve as models. As The Independent notes, Switzerland is set to host the first Cyborg Olympics in 2016.

More than just a sports showcase, the summer Olympic games are a worldwide television event that draws billions of viewers every four years. Could a competition that replaces flesh and blood with robotic parts ever invigorate audiences to any sort of similar degree? No one actually believes that to be part of Abe's vision, but with robotics expected to take a huge leap in the 21st century it's not too outrageous to think about just how far-reaching the technology can become. Still, it's difficult to imagine a robot Olympics rivaling a human one 80 or 800 years from now, let alone the eight until Tokyo. Sports just don't have as much appeal when sapped of the human drama.

One thing's for sure: if the 2820 Fresno Olympics feature a robots competition, NBC will no doubt find a way to screw up its coverage.

Keep reading at Slate and IEEE Spectrum

Photo credit: Kjpargeter / Shutterstock

 

Would You Watch a Robot Oly...

Newsletter: Share: