Thursday July 10th, 2014

It turns out Lionel Messi isn't the only cyborg soccer player. Scientists from universities around the world will gather in Brazil in two weeks for their own World Cup—with robots. 

The Associated Press has the whole story. The so-called "RoboCup" has been held annually since 1997. This year's edition will feature teams from 45 different countries. The robots compete in different divisions based on size and play 20-minute matches refereed by actual humans (who enter their calls into a computer to control the "players"). 

Over time, the level of play has progressed to point where one researcher says it resembles "watching 10-year-olds execute basic athletic skills and strategies". By 2050, the scientists hope our robot overlords will be able to beat humans in a game.

"It's hard to predict what will happen in 2050, but we are on the right path," event co-founder Manuela Veloso, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, told the AP.

Robots might be the key to the United States' World Cup success. The University of Pennsylvania has won the past three RoboCups in the "kid-sized humanoid" division. Take that, Belgium. 

- Dan Gartland

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