Are robots going to take over the world? Sure, we like to make jokes about a robot takeover, and things can sometimes get a bit too real when our favorite virtual assistant seems to be gaining sentience or a robot makes a sudden, bold move for freedom, but it seems we’ve been worrying about the wrong thing all of these years. Robots don’t want to take over the world–they just want to dominate humans on the basketball court.
As The Verge reports, a group of engineers from Toyota were inspired by the manga Suramu Danku (or Slam Dunk) that tells the story of a high school boy who finds he has an uncanny, natural ability for basketball. So naturally, they jumped from loving a manga about a human with a hidden talent to making a robot who is basically perfect at shooting free throws.
As far as robots go, this one seems to be pretty streamlined in its functionality without the ability to really move anywhere on its own or pick up a basketball on its own. Still, despite those physical limitations, this robot is still able to effortlessly make free throw after free throw. To test how good the robot actually was, the engineers had it compete against two basketball players who play for the team Alvark Tokyo. And while the competition was fierce–after all, these were professional basketball players–the robot managed to win the contest, never once missing a shot.
So are we overreacting whenever a robot does something a little too human for our comfort levels? Probably. However, if this video is any indication, we absolutely have something to worry about when it comes to any future sports competitions. These creations might not want to take over the world, but with robots beating the crap out of us at basketball and even solving Rubix cubes faster than we ever could, they might just be here to embarrass at sports and other feats of physical performance. And honestly, that might be more concerning than a robot apocalypse.
What do you think of this free throw robot? Do you think you could beat it? What other sports do you think robots could be really good at? Let’s talk in the comments!
Feature Image: Alvark Toyko