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Robotics News

Camel-Riding Robots 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-stealing-children dept.
misterpies writes "Of the many jobs robots could be put to use, here's one I'll bet not many slashdotters have considered - camel jockeys. According to the BBC, from next year racing camels in the United Arab Emirates will be ridden by robots. And for once, the folks put out of work won't be complaining - mostly children (some as young as four) who are reportedly abducted or sold by their families to unscrupulous racing-camel owners. How long until we see robots take over from humans in other sports?"
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Camel-Riding Robots

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  • Crossover (Score:2, Funny)

    by suso (153703) *
    Sounds like Short Circuit meets Ishtar or City Slickers. They should do a remake now.
  • Battle-Bots (Score:5, Funny)

    by maotx (765127) <maotx@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:45AM (#12199457)
    How long until we see robots take over from humans in other sports?

    Better yet, how long until we see robots take over humans for sports?
    Nothing like the sound of a solid ka-thunk of a head to make a goal in front of a roaring crowd of robots.
  • Of why a lot of people think the Arab world is screwed up. We'll give you your religion, if you don't blow shit up because of it, but abducting children to use as camel jockies is just bizzare. Building a robot... well, cool... but bizzare.
    • by mrsev (664367) <mrsev.spymac@com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:07AM (#12199588)
      ...I was absolutely shocked to see the phrase "camel jockeys" on the front page of slashdot. I had to take a doulbe take. I am sure that many other English readers will feel the same. A "camel jockey" in english slang is a term of denigration for Arabs in general.

      As regards your percapetion of the arab world sports may I remind you that we, in the west, put migets on horses and race them. Anyway makes more sense that American Football or Cricket...both incomprihensable to outsiders.
      • we, in the west, put migets on horses

        Actually, the politically correct term is "little people", you insensitive clod...

      • A "camel jockey" in english slang is a term of denigration for Arabs in general.


        You forgot to add 'in my tiny village in Somerset which time has passed by and where every night the plowmen gather in the old thatched inn to sacrifice a goat to the Harvest God'.

        Elsewhere in the UK, 'camel jockey' is a jockey who rides a camel.


        As regards your percapetion


        You leave my percapetion out of this! I'm taking pills for it, that's all I can do.
        • "You forgot to add 'in my tiny village in Somerset which time has passed by and where every night the plowmen gather in the old thatched inn to sacrifice a goat to the Harvest God'."

          That I why I said slang. If everyone who spoke english used it it would be called english.

          However it is more common than you think.
          See:
          http://www.urbandictionary.com/defi n e.php?term=cam el+jockey&r=f
          http://www.angelfire.com/geek/APRAC E/glossary.html
          http://www.diversitywatch.ryerson.ca/glossary/c. ht m
          also in the script
      • by TFGeditor (737839) on Monday April 11, 2005 @01:07PM (#12202984) Homepage
        We do not "put midgets" on horses. Jockeys climb on voluntarily and are paid for their services. They are paid professionals, not involuntary slaves. Helluva difference.
    • Actually, this is no big shit. Child labour is extremely common in most countries in Asia and Africa. It only sounds outlandish or cruel to you because it's not common in your country. Note that i'm not supporting child labour or "child selling" in ANY form. I'm only commenting on the present day reality.

      The reality is that a LOT of people in Asia and Africa have never ever had 2 square meals in a day, ever since they were born. The number of said people also exceeds the total population of USA, Canada, an
      • Child labour is extremely common in most countries in Asia and Africa. It only sounds outlandish or cruel to you because it's not common in your country.

        "When I were a kid, I were down t' mine at 6am...."

        And it was really popular in western society at one point. Chimney sweeps, mining, anything where your small size was an advantage meant that kids got the job.

        It's only recently that we've gotten this perverse idea that childhood lasts til 18 (and all the rebelion that comes from treating adults as

      • by Mullen (14656) on Monday April 11, 2005 @01:22PM (#12203172)
        I just had to respond to this since it was the most retarted thing I have ever read.

        Slavery is wrong, period. These kids are being sold in to slavery where there are beaten, abused, sexually exploited, and when they get too big to ride the camels, they are sold off to some other low life who does worse things to them. You think the men who buy these kids setup college funds for these poor kids? Nope, they sell them off when they have no use for them, and if no one will buy them, they kick them out onto the streets or they kill them.

        Now, that your island is plain fucking lame. If I had a kid and I had a choice between starving with my kid and selling them off to be abused, exploited, and/or raped, I would pick starving to death with them. Yes, that sucks too, but I would die with my kids, in my arms, knowing how much I love them, rather than have them turned into 14 year prositute who will die of AIDS at 15.

        All I have to add is, if the other billion people in your country think that way, you should call up the Queen of England and ask her and the British to come back and run your country, again.
        • Sorry, i'm having a little difficulty hearing you from your ivory tower. Nonetheless, i'll try and respond to your insults, that seem to have more ignorance than logic.

          "Slavery is wrong, period."

          Please read my fuckin post. I said the same thing as well, and that too in the first line of my post. Jeeez

          "These kids are being sold in to slavery where there are beaten, abused, sexually exploited, and when they get too big to ride the camels, they are sold off to some other low life who does worse things to th
      • I think you should know that while that MAY be the case in India, it is certainly quite different in Thailand. Daughters sold into prostitution are shunned and outcast by the family for it. If they ever safely return to their family, despite sending money home for years on end and being forced into the trade to begin with, they are basically a lower class of society and within the family. They're looked down on, called dirty whores, and blamed for everything they did during that period of time. This isn
  • robots take over human in (American) football. Never mind it would be too expensive to keep repairing them and replacing them.
    • Motor Racing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by moon-monster (712361) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:54AM (#12199515) Homepage Journal
      I'd be quite happy to see robots take over in motor racing. It'd be great to see what kind of machines people could come up with to get themselves round a track as quickly as possible, once all the design concerns related to human safety are removed.

      It's also more practical financially, as in most of the large motor racing series there is already a substantial budget for hardware maintenance. ;-)
      • once all the design concerns related to human safety are removed.

        I see your point, but having autonomous or semi-autonomous 200+ mph automobiles means I for one will always have design concerns vis-a-vis human safety. I would of course rather have them on the road than 95% of Houston (human?) drivers on the other hand.
      • Yeah and you could design some crazy tracks as well. Of course you couldn't allow spectators at the track, too many are killed by tyres flying off the vehicles as it is.
  • money (Score:5, Funny)

    by mboverload (657893) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:45AM (#12199462) Journal
    20 rubees on Robo-Akmed!
  • Wow. (Score:4, Funny)

    by dayid (802168) * <slashdot@dayid.org> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:46AM (#12199463) Homepage
    I do believe this is the stupidest story I've ever seen posted here.
  • by brilinux (255400) <kg4qxk AT arrl DOT net> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:46AM (#12199464) Homepage Journal
    Here's one not many slashdotters have considered

    Pshaww... pretty much as soon as I found out what a robot was when I was a child, the first thing that came to my mind was, "I wonder if such things could be made to ride camels". Geesh, I wonder where that submitter has been all his life...

    • when I was a child, the first thing that came to my mind was, "I wonder if such things could be made to ride camels".

      My first thought was that we might someday be able to make a machine that smokes Camels...the robots would get the lung cancer and the humans would get the buzz.

      BTW, getting robots to ride camels doesn't seem to be that hard. You could strap a robosapien atop a dromedary and call it an afternoon. The success of the effort has more to do with the quality of the straps than the robot. It s

  • PETR (Score:5, Funny)

    by bigtallmofo (695287) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:47AM (#12199469)
    Wait until People for the Ethical Treatment of Robots starts throwing oil on the camels in protest!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:05AM (#12199579)
      PETA throwing motor oil? I sure hope not! I work in the rendering plant where we take lambs and bleed them to death in order to provide PETA liquid blood to pour on furs during their protess. They are our biggest client right now.
  • by akadruid (606405) <slashdot@@@thedruid...co...uk> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:49AM (#12199482) Homepage
    This is exactly a prime use for robots, assuming I don't mistunderstand the social aspects involved.

    What surprises me is that a relatively complex task in an area where human wages are fairly low should justify the replacement of humans by robots, and yet in countries where wages are sky high, human workers are doing much simpler tasks.

    The fact that is appears as surreal as a python sketch obviously shows up my lack of knowledge of other cultures.
    • the kids are not used because of low wages.

      they're used because of low weight(underfed too.. to remain low weight).

    • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:07AM (#12199587) Homepage Journal
      And possibly, or more likely, probably this indicates that you don't know what is complex for a robot and how much it costs to buy and maintain one.

      Even in the States, its far cheaper to hire someone to pick strawberries, sweep walkways, mow lawns, weed gardens, clean toilets, and a number of other similar mundane tasks than it is to get robots to do it. In addition, with the exception of sweeping and mowing, those tasks are all complicated for a robot (and even in the case of sweeping and mowing, a robot usually doesn't do a very good job).

      It is highly unlikely that this is a suitable task for a robot. It is a task that will likely require more maintenance (on-site robot repair team vs monthly doctor visits), human labor (robot repair team, and robot teleoperator vs small human), and cost (cost of robot, cost of paying team vs cost of labor for a small human) than the previous way.
      • You're quite right - I have no idea about costing real world robots, but I think that is a market issue.

        I think it will require radical changes in the way we design and think about things, but its proven possible to achieve - ATMs and other vending machines and printing are some of the more successful ones that I can think of.

        In most cases I think that it is the flexability of humans that wins out - most of the situations you mentioned, the task varies too much to be automated properly yet - e.g. street s
        • Marshal Brain [marshallbrain.com] agrees. He argues that fast-food workers [marshallbrain.com] (and service workers in general) will be one of the first major professions to be automated next (in the next few decades).
        • fast food (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bluGill (862)

          10 years ago (when I worked there) McDonald's was testing a robot fry cook. At the time it was too expensive. However they took one part of the cook and installed that everywhere: a robot to fill the fry baskets.

          Fast Food kitchens are a good place for robots. People should not work near hot grease, because of the danger of burns. (One guy I worked with was hospitalized due to burns from cleaning the vats. After that everyone started using the provided gloves)

        • I think it would have been much less disturbing if you found a chunk of metal in your Wendy's chili, for example...

          There's a job in the Wendys food creation process someplace that could *really* use some robotic automation.
      • It's not to save money. The purpose is to eliminate child slavery.
    • Erm ... they aren't autonomous, they still need to be controlled by a human operator.
  • .. Thats all that needs to be said.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:50AM (#12199490)
    I'm betting on seeing regular athletes get cyborged before being replaced by robots outright. Imagine, get an implant, drug tests all come up clean, improved reflexes are less a give-away than overdeveloped musculature from steroid use (assuming you're not being ridiculous about the improvements you're giving yourself), the actual nature of the machinery can be obfuscated away as some necessary thing like a pacemaker...
    • (assuming you're not being ridiculous about the improvements you're giving yourself)

      You assume too much. Of COURSE there would be an arms race in cybernetic enhancements.

      If Mod A can ensure a 110 mph fastball, then the next guy will want a 115 mph fastball, with a curve on it.

    • There are two types of enhancment surgeries open to baseball players: laser eye surgery and Tommy John surgery. The first one is fairly ubiquitous and currently not very scrutinized. Improve your vision and you are better able to see what the pitcher is throwing your way. The second almost seems like a response to the first: they drill holes in your arm bones, figure-eight your tendons, and suddenly the pitcher can pitch better than he ever has before. Currently, AFAIK, the latter is only done on "injured"
    • I guess you haven't heard about Tommy John surgery [usatoday.com]. Baseball pitchers have been artificially enhanced for nearly 30 years. Since there's no social stigma about surgery its legal, unlike steroids, which are "drugs".
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:50AM (#12199493)
    One of our best misbehaviour prevention threats has been removed. Now the kids wont believe us when we threaten them with being sold to an arab for a life of camel racing. Please tell me they have not yet developed a camel pooper scooper robot, so at least we can still threaten them with a life of camel dung collection.
  • Imagine... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by tsa (15680)
    Robot camels raced by robots!
  • Yah, but... (Score:2, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959)
    Sure they can run camels, but can they run linux?
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:55AM (#12199527)
    Has anyone asked the camels what they think of this? Large evil beasts might not take to kindly to having robotic jockey overlords.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CypherXero (798440) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:57AM (#12199535) Homepage
    FTFA: "mostly children (some as young as four) who are reportedly abducted or sold by their families to unscrupulous racing-camel owners."

    Why is it that they're so worried about winning some meaningless race with camels? They need their ass kicked for even considering selling a child. I can't understand how cold people can be sometimes to do something like this.
    • "They need their ass kicked for even considering selling a child. I can't understand how cold people can be sometimes to do something like this."

      Not cold, just incredibly poor!

    • Compare it to child pornography. No reasonable man would lend his children for something like that too. But when you have more children than money, maybe people tend to become unreasonable.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JahToasted (517101)
      Oh don't act so high and mighty. The clothes you wear, the shoes on your feet, etc, were most likely produced by child labour. But you never stop and think about the poor kid when you buy all that crap from walmart. You make a cold decision based on price alone. You want some poor kid to make your sneakers so you can save five bucks. Just because you rationalise it by say that those kids are far away and believe in a different god than you, doesn't make you a better person then the parents who sell their ki
    • I am from Bangladesh, one of the countries really affected by Arabs coming and buying young boys, and obviously you're not from the country.

      I come from an upper middle class family. We are the exception, not the norm in our country. Most people are DESPERATELY poor. Poor enough to injure themselves or their children in order to collect more alms money (the logic being a blind or amputated beggar will get more money than a normal one).

      Furthermore, the people who are involved in this kind of trade often
  • I've seen several comments from posters posing the question as to how long it will be before robots participate in human sports. These comments reminded me of a short story I had read in years past which involved robots playing football.

    The whole jist was that the robots couldn't have chips which would make them have a will to win. Essentially the robots were supposed to merely run the programmed plays. However, one old guy had found a way to bury such a chip deep inside his teams robots.

    The story ends
  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:03AM (#12199567)
    These "robots" will look curiously like small children wrapped in tinfoil...
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:05AM (#12199578)

    From the summary:

    How long until we see robots take over from humans in other sports?

    Bender: Clem Johnson? That skin bag wouldn't have lasted one pitch in the old Robot Leagues! Now
    Wireless Joe Jackson, there was a blern hitting machine!

    Leela: Exactly! He was a machine designed to hit blerns! I mean come on! Wireless Joe was nothing but a programmable bat on wheels.

    Bender: Oh and I suppose PitchingBot 5000 was just a modified howitzer.

  • Let's go to the robotic track-and-field events and watch as robots designed to move quickly while pretending they're humans move quickly. Seriously, watching robots in any human only-sports would be incredibly boring. Robots will shine in sports designed for robots and sports where the primary element is not human (Formula 1, horse racing, camel racing).
  • Everyone should know that by 2072, robots have completely taken the place of humans in sports. The proof is at the url below.
    http://www.emuviews.com/cgi-local/showss.cgi?FILE= cyberb2p&SC=2 [emuviews.com]
  • How about having robots replace slaves in general? Heck, the word robot came from the root word for slave in czech. (ala, R.U.R. ) Hmm.. how long before McJobs are replaced?
    • "Heck, the word robot came from the root word for slave in czech. (ala, R.U.R. ) Hmm.. how long before McJobs are replaced?"

      We will have some idea this is going on when we start finding metal fingers in our Wendy's chili.

  • child jockeys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    One in a series of laws was introduced this month to forbid the use of jockeys under the age of 16 from taking part in the sport.

    Now it seems there will be no need for the rules to be flouted, our correspondent says.

    The article says that there are 40000 child jockeys right now. It seems unlikely that they could build enough robots to replace them in less than a few years... Let's hope that this law to forbid child jockeys will be passed and enforced, otherwise it seems unlikely that those childs will be

  • Inefficient? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by baadger (764884)
    Why not just make and race robot camels?
  • by netman12 (863415) <netman@kenork.com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:20AM (#12199683)
    This is just in time! We can let them take over from humans in reality TV shows.

    Survivor 25: twenty robots stranded on a desert island, equipped with only 5 bolts and a single AA battery, battle it out to see who can make it the longest without a change of oil.

  • by Antyrael (855796) <travisw@ w m p u b.ca> on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:25AM (#12199709)

    I see a lot of comments regarding the "how long before robots replace humans" comment, but I have to say, is this not a sport where the CAMELS are the athletes? I hardly see this as a case of humans in sports being replaced; as some other poster mentioned, if underfed kids were the original jockeys, then this is a boon more than anything.

    The way I see it, humans won't be "replaced" in sports that actually require the humans to be the athletes for a long, long time. Perhaps, when the technology is far enough, robot-run variants may spring up, but I have a strong feeling the human versions will still be around.

    • Exactly, The attraction to sports is the "look what a man can do" factor. Also there is the identifying with the athlete part of it. Nobody can indentify with a robot very easily.

      The point of camle racing is gambling, no one much cares about the jockeys (else they would probably not keep the kids malnourished), so replacing them is not a problem.

  • Humans vs. Robots (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Valthezeh (870251)
    I could be wrong, but I don't really think there will be a big push to replace humans with robots in most sports. Maybe as a cool, project/aside from traditional sports, as robots are capable of doing things that humans aren't and it would provide a challenge to those interested AI, but not replacing persay.

    One of the things most people who enjoy sports like is the ability to relate to the players, and the fact that they can aspire to be like them or view them as role models, etc. This aspect of sports
  • So they are currently fed little to keep them light. Exactly how much food do you think they will get once they aren't earning money for the arse who owns them by riding camels.
    My guess is the amount of food won't go up!
  • Hardly new (Score:3, Informative)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:35AM (#12199782) Journal
    I was hoping to see autonomous robots ride these camels. However:
    "The mechanical jockey is light in weight and receives orders from the instructor via a remote control system fixed on the back of the camel," the daily Gulf News said, quoting an official statement.
    I remember reading about something similar yeeaaars ago; the Japanese developed a remotely controlled robot that was light enough to ride a pony, allowing them to hold indoor pony races.
  • Imagine that! Automation takes away the job of a camel jockey.

    Poetic justice.
    • Imagine that! Automation takes away the job of a camel jockey.

      Poetic justice.


      Imagine that! A post on slashdot from an idiot who obviously has no idea what they're talking about. A few points:

      1) The UAE (where much camel racing occurs) is not really in the outsourcing business.
      2) India, which is one of the biggest players in the outsourcing game, has no camels, or camel racing.
      3) If you looked at a map (which had places other than the US on it), you'd see the two countries in question are some distance
  • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday April 11, 2005 @10:00AM (#12200511)
    I'd rather see them replace the fans with robots. Then we can stop listening to people yelling about how they are number 1, because some millionair that couldn't care whether they live or die, made a touchdown.
  • Damn the yankee imperialist dogs for their evil Western influence. How dare they destroy a time honored tradition of selling children into bondage.

    When will the West learn that their technology and influence is against the will of Allah?
  • Learn the difference between "Camel riding robots" and "Camel-riding Robots". The hypen makes quite a difference; in "Camel riding robots" the robots will have to welcome their new camel overlord.
  • by jhines (82154)
    The owners of the National Hockey League are drooling over the idea of non-union robot players.

    I can hear it now, "Hydraulic fluid on ice".
  • by InsaneCreator (209742) on Monday April 11, 2005 @12:36PM (#12202498)
    Bend it like soccer unit 3500-4X!

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