Friday, "Real Steel," a serious drama about robot boxing, opens in movie theaters nationwide. If you are unfamiliar, it's a stirring tale of a down-and-out human boxer (Broadway sensation Hugh Jackman) who turns to training robots when humans are barred from the sport. It is perhaps the greatest premise for a movie in film history and a startling look at what lies ahead for the sweet science.
But could a similar series of events happen in basketball? Boxing is an exceedingly violent sport, whereas injuries in basketball are not quite so inherent to the sport itself. Still, in the event of a horrific scene on an NBA court and improvements in robot technology, perhaps 2050 will see us rooting for Robot Parish and similarly named human substitutes.
As we saw several weeks ago, robots are getting better at basketball every day. The video proves not only that robots are being put on basketball courts more and more often, but that the youth of today are seriously invested in creating the first robot capable of outperforming NBA All-Stars. In 10 or 20 years, these children will almost certainly create a robot legend. What will stop us from outlawing humans from the sport? Don't we just want to see the best athletes perform, human or otherwise?
- Hugh Jackman