Robots could beat ‘world’s best’ footballers by 2050

24 Sep 2010

A professor at New South Wales University in Australia has said that by 2050, autonomous robots will be able to beat the best human footballers.

Claude Sammut, professor of computer science and engineering, has been involved in a project called RoboCup, which has been programming robots to play football.

He said in the journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Review: Cognitive Science that robots currently have difficulties in learning to control the ball and dribble.

However, he is optimistic they will have the same skills as the top football players of the future.

He pointed out that, in 1968, computer scientist John McCarthy and researcher Donald Michie made a bet with the Scottish chess champion David Levy that, within 10 years, a computer program could beat him.

It took 30 years but this prediction came true. Sammut hopes that the project RoboCup can develop robots that can beat the human soccer champions of 2050.

However, this will take some huge advances in artificial intelligence in the next 40 years.

“To achieve this, or come even close, the robots will have to be able to sense and act in completely unstructured environments,” said Sammut.

“This will require major advances in perception, decision making, learning, and co-operative behaviours.

“Not forgetting that robots are integrated hardware and software systems, significant advances will also be needed in sensors, actuators, energy storage, and materials,” he said.