Cute, creepy and weird mascots are a staple of every Olympics. However, the 2018 Winter Olympics is going a step further by introducing bizarre robot volunteers. In total, the South Korean government is planning on trotting out 85 robots, including a robot that will draw murals on venue walls, delivery robots, fishing robots, per Yonhap.
Speaking robots will provide information on event scheduling, places to go sightseeing and transportation in four languages — Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese — and paint robots will draw murals on the walls of stadiums during the games, it said.
Robotic vacuum cleaners, small autonomous delivery robots and fishing robots will be also utilized in venues located in three cities, Pyeongchang, Gangneung and Jeongseon.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology also developed a humanoid robot that will bear the Olympic torch.
South Korea is only the beginning of artificial intelligence and automation invading the Olympic Games. In 2020, Japan is planning to populate an entire internet village with robot volunteers who will assist visitors and will be rolling out self-driving taxis. It’s not like that couldn’t backfire in any way.
Olympic judges may also be phased out if Japanese technology company Fujitsu has its way. The company is also working on a robot that can score gymnasts. In unrelated news, Boston Dynamics has developed a humanoid which has learned to backflipped.
Automated technology is already an albatross on the jobs market in various industries, but until South Korea and Japan went all in on robots, it remained to be seen what place they had at the Olympic Games.
While the IOC is banning Russia athletes from the 2018 Olympics, robots will be well-represented. Join the resistance. Humans are being replaced by robots and the pace it’s happening is jarring. Of course, this could all go perfectly smoothly and the robots working the 2018 and 2020 Games could be submissive, polite and observe Asimov’s Three Laws. However, it’s rare for everything to go right at the Olympics. At the very least, the upcoming Summer and Winter Olympics should be an interesting glimpse into our automated future.