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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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  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CypherXero (798440) on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:57AM (#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.
  • child jockeys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @09:14AM (#12199629)
    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 freed anytime soon...
  • Inefficient? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by baadger (764884) on Monday April 11, 2005 @09:19AM (#12199668)
    Why not just make and race robot camels?
  • by Antyrael (855796) <travisw@wmpu b . ca> on Monday April 11, 2005 @09:25AM (#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.

  • by asliarun (636603) on Monday April 11, 2005 @09:36AM (#12199787)
    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, and Europe combined. Faced with such extreme hunger, many families prefer to sell off their children instead of watching them die of malnutrition or disease. The added benefit is that they make a little money out of it, which sees them through a year or two.

    It's not that these people don't love their children. For many such families, selling off their children is actually a demonstration of their love for their child. They know that even though their child will be ill-treated by the Arab or whoever is buying the child, at least their child will be reasonably well-fed and will have an outside chance of getting a decent education. It beats a slow death in any case.

    Look at it another way. Say, hypothetically, that you're stranded in an island along with your child. You have a boat that can only seat your child. You're also slowly dying of hunger in the island. Given impending death due to starvation, will you or won't you set your child adrift in the sea if you know that your child has a 10% chance of survival?

    P.S. I'm not exaggerating this by any means. Thousands of families in India commit suicide every year, especially if the rainfall is bad that year. The poison of choice, IIRC, is a local pesticide, which has now been banned in many villages. Selling children is also not uncommon.
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Monday April 11, 2005 @10:25AM (#12200173)
    > If your family has been poor and hungry for several generations, why have children?
    > Its called a condom, folks.

    Because they'd like to keep eating (if not well) in their old age. Your children are your retirement policy. So you not only have kids, you have a lot of them.

    Chris Mattern
  • by AvitarX (172628) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Monday April 11, 2005 @10:27AM (#12200194) Journal
    It's not to save money. The purpose is to eliminate child slavery.
  • by danila (69889) on Monday April 11, 2005 @10:41AM (#12200316) Homepage
    That's why mandatory population control (using sterelisation, if necessary) would be a more humane policy than demanding child jokeys to be replaced with robots.

    Of course, the Western society (and human rights activists) doesn't really care about people, they care about their perception of what is proper.
  • by the_macman (874383) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:09AM (#12200581)
    You act like those 18-years didn't sign up themselves. Nobody forced them to join the military. It's a decision everyone makes on their own. So please don't try to run that sob story on us. This country needs soldiers and it needs physically fit soldiers to meet the demands of today's wars. So please stop acting like it's a travesty.
  • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:44AM (#12201016)
    That's why mandatory population control (using sterelisation, if necessary) would be a more humane policy

    Been tried before in Germany and the US, both by evil folk. Didn't go down to well, in fact there were some cases recently stateside where people that had been forcably sterilized sued. However, you'd solve more of the abstract problems causing the poverty by giving out immunisations to common diseases rather than than serilization. Jeez, daily aids deaths are around 3,000 and they can't even give out enough contraception to them.

    Of course, the Western society (and human rights activists) doesn't really care about people, they care about their perception of what is proper.

    No, they onlu care about the sales brought by appearing to be proper. It's all front.

  • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:53AM (#12201124)
    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 children). And then we slate other countries for being 50-100 years behind us in social development!!

  • by TFGeditor (737839) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:07PM (#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.
  • by Mullen (14656) on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:22PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @02:26PM (#12203223)
    This is the second story I've heard recently that includes the oil rich Arab countries mistreating/abusing people from less fortunate cultures.

    If you buy a child in America, you go to jail.
    If you buy a child to race camels, it's all good.

    If you abuse a maid from any country in America, you go to jail.
    If you kill a maid in Saudi Arabia, you can just go to that maid's country of origin and pay $10k for forgiveness.

    Oil prices are going up. Why? Maybe it costs a lot to buy children and pay for slaves.

    And you think a war over oil is a bad thing?
  • by JahToasted (517101) <toastafari@yahoo. c o m> on Monday April 11, 2005 @03:20PM (#12204014) Homepage
    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.

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