Re: ROBOT: "Robot Wars" Continues To Burgeon

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sat Jan 12 2002 - 11:30:11 MST

From: "Spike Jones" <>
> But JR, twisted metal, chainsaws and jets of flame are inherently appealing.
> Wicked cool. It has all the elements of good entertainment: engineering,
> physical struggle, humor, destruction, etc. I am astounded we got all the
> way to 1998 before someone figured out how to make money with
> these things. {8-] spike

You got that right, Spike. Ain't no "buts" about it. When someone figures out
how to make money with *anything* that's when it really takes off. Eventually
someone will figure out how to make money with human-competitive AI robots,
and that will be the last thing anyone will need to figure out. Incidentally,
do you suppose anyone will figure out how to make money with the Extropy

> Keep watching this robot wars. We are right on the edge of getting
> something an order of magnitude more interesting and worrisome:
> a version of robot wars where the battlebots must be entirely
> autonomous, preprogrammed to attack and defend. When they
> start getting good at that, perhaps we could make the game so
> that there is some meta-goal, such as having each bot gather randomly
> scattered stones into a goal box. The others try to stop that while
> filling their own goal boxes.

More worrisome yet: A robot that figures out how to make robot wars
interesting to humans.

> Perhaps bots would learn to form temporary alliances, smash
> the other guy, rob each other's goal boxes, etc, then fight among
> themselves. Pretty soon they might start acting not so different
> from humans.

Well, as you may know, the only thing on TV that's bigger than Robot Wars is
Nevertheless, I see robotics moving toward helpful services, as rescue
workers, firefighters, surgeons, and other useful things more than just a
spectator sport.

"You'll learn to like robots.
They'll be nicer than human beings."
--Hans Moravec

> We are on the verge of making up sports that would be
> way more entertaining than watching 22 overpaid galoots
> struggling to kick a pigskin obelisk thru goal posts. spike

Unfortunately, what's entertaining to *us* doesn't necessarily play well on
TV, which is directed at an audience of approximately eighth grade level (and
comparable galoots).

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as the scientific method
accurately identifies incorrect thinking.

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