Zaturdays: The Skateboarding Robot Takeover Is Upon Us! Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Zaturdays: The Skateboarding Robot Takeover Is Upon Us!

Posted on Friday, March 25, 2016 by Paul

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that robots and computers will take ‘much of the work currently done by humans’ within the next 50 years.” This is the opening line in a recent Time Magazine story that goes on to say that 80% of us don’t expect our own jobs to be under threat. That’s the old optimist / head-in-the-sand spirit! Good for us. And if you surveyed professional skateboarders, I’m sure exactly zero of them would say a robot would be coming for their job. But what if they’re wrong?
I’m obsessed with the future. Why, I can’t say. Is the present so terrible? I’m intrigued to no end by the idea of a driverless car coming to pick me up at the touch of a button. And how cool will it be speaking to people in different languages via translation software? All those skate trips to China are about to get even better. Even dystopian views of the future sound compelling, you know, the ones where we’re enslaved by robots, or worse. I’m ready for whatever the future has in store. I hope.
My next whip. It might not be much to look at, but imagine all the Candy Crush you could get done riding in this thing.

But enough rambling. One of the major problems the promise of the future holds is that we humans will be obsolete. We’ve already seen what robots have done to entire sectors, like manufacturing, and specific jobs, like travel agenting. Robots have been killin’ the game. Truck drivers, doctors, journalists, scientists, researchers, teachers, janitors, they’re all next.
Time for your oil check.

I won’t be mad for you not believing me on this next point, but it won’t be too long before robots will be able to outskate your favorite pros. Why couldn’t they? Robots have perfect balance, just look at Segways. Timing obviously isn’t going to be an issue either, with the ability to pop the tail within one 10,000th of a millisecond. A robot is never going to miss the rail on a 5050 I can tell you that much. A robot can also execute perfect flick every time. And maybe most of all, a robot ain’t skeered.
This is already 10 years old. The current generation of skater bots can switch heel to crooks every try, and double smack dap its robo bros.

But I already know what you’re thinking; we don’t even like to watch humans skate who are known for having robotic styles, why would we care about a robot with a robot style? While I can admit that we probably wouldn’t, here’s the kicker: Within 50 years, skateboarding robots will be able to perform the most difficult tricks of all time as stylish as Gino ever was. You don’t like Gino? Fine, click on the Penny style, Kenny Anderson’s, or try Joslin’s or Boo Johnson’s. It’ll be as easy as it is now to switch between Fonts. Fonts. Fonts. Fonts. Fonts…. Which reminds me, have you bumped into any successful typesetters lately?
“It says here we’ll be the first to go after the robot takeover…what’s a robot?”

See, after the difficult task of programming a robot to do tricks, a few software tweaks is all it will take to imbue them with whatever style we choose, because while we like to believe that style is almost some spiritual thing, coming perhaps from the deepest depths of the soul, I’m pretty sure we’re eventually going to learn that it’s not. Put the zeroes and ones in a different order and wala, style, perfectly simulated.

Now, to get an idea where this could be heading, picture a humanoid robot, programmed to move like Evan Smith, doing a nollie flip to front crook down the biggest multi kinked handrail, to varial heel out, at the end of a line. It might be something to get behind.

If only robots could replace presidential candidates, reality TV stars, and Ben Affleck.
Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to be stuck with Ben.

-Paul Zitzer


Subscribe to the SPoT What's Up Blog

Enter your email: