Saturday , 22 November 2014
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No One Worries About the Robot

Robot camel jockeys. Photo by Lars Plougmann via Wikimedia Commons

From today’s edition of the Telegraph online, in a report on cheating in camel racing:

Racing camels is popular throughout the Gulf, where owning a herd of beasts specially bred for the sport has become a fashion accoutrement. The most prized animals can sell for more than $1 million.
But Dubai police have confirmed they uncovered a gang of dealers who were selling electric stun gun kits, for up to 5,000, across the region.
These were then being fitted inside the ROBOT JOCKEYS, which cost between 130-200, that in recent years have largely replaced child jockeys, traditionally used in camel racing, due to humanitarian concerns.

emphasis mine.

The report goes on to explain that the robots jockeys have replaced the young boys, often starved and gravely mistreated, who were traditionally trafficked by wealthy camel racers. And while kitting out the robots with stun guns to goad their mounts isn’t cool, it’s worth pointing out that the robot jockey’s job is to hit the camel with a riding crop to make it go faster.

Story shared by Tim Maly via Twitter. I remarked that it was a classic case of burying the lede; “For people deep in their world,” Tim replied, “the robots are no longer the lede! It’s old news! Robots riding camels is old news!” Which is true, of courseand it’s the best example of the unevenly-distributed future that I’ve seen in awhile.

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