Dubai, United Arab Emirates announced the creation of the World Future Sports Games last weekend at the World Drone Prix 2016. But what is it?
Think of it as the Olympics for robots. Dubai wants to expand on the success of the World Drone Prix with driverless car racing, robotic soccer, robotic running competitions, robotics swimming, robotic wrestling, robotic table tennis, and of course, drone racing. There’s even plans for a ‘cybathlon’ competition, which is a term for a competition between cyborg athletes. The first edition of the World Future Sports Games will be hosted in Dubai from December 28 to 30, 2017 and repeat every two years. These games are being organized by the World Federation of Future Sports.
“We are trying to bring the future closer to us,” said Mohammed Al Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates’ minister for Cabinet Affairs.
All of these competitions exist, or will debut this year. RoboGames! (formerly called the ROBOlympics) has long been a source of wrestling, swimming, sprinting, and other robotic competitions. RoboRace is a FIA Formula E driven initiative that plans to have the first autonomous car races held this year. Switzerland is planning on hosting the first Cybathlon this year as well.
It’s a good thing these competitions exist. Dubai won’t have to bear the full responsibility of organizing and producing completely new events. As Day 1 of World Drone Prix evidenced, it’s difficult for the city to foresee all the difficulties of a massive new sports format. The World Future Sports Games does plan on being the first to pull all of these competitions together into a single two-day, massive, and glamorous event.
The United Arab Emirates isn’t the first country to take advantage of the rise of the machines. By holding the event in 2017 they beat Japan by three years.
In 2014, Japan announced they want to hold a Robot Olympics alongside the 2020 Summer Olympics (for humans). Tokyo, Japan will be hosting the 2020 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 skill.”said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in July of 2014.
For the announcement of the World Future Sports Games, Mohammad Al Gergawi also said, “Traditional sports throughout history have contributed to social and economic development and attracted billions of dollars in investments… future sport is capable of achieving the same in the coming period and it will also contribute to promoting R&D in various technology-related sectors.”
It’s possible the World Future Sports Games may have additional competitions added by 2017. The revival of BattleBots and Robot Wars has increased interest in the robot fighting sport. This interest will no doubt see a massive spike when two giant mech-robots, one from the U.S. and one from Japan, have a massive duel this summer. This would be a far more entertaining competition than, say, robot soccer:
However many events there are, Third Law Sports will cover them all. At the very least we’re looking forward to the massive marketing campaign for the World Future Sports Games. It’ll be hard to top Drone vs McClaren.
As a start, the name should be changed to something easier to say.