Robots are set to be better than humans at sport in under 28 years, it was claimed last week, but they are likely to be thrust into the gaming world first.
Futurologist Dr Ian Pearson sensationally told this website he even expects the machines to be 15 times stronger than human athletes within that time frame.
But the former AI engineer does not believe robots will be used for standalone competition, because their predictability would dilute the excitement.
Instead Dr Pearson, 57, says machine athletes are likely to be used in video games such as footie sensation FIFA 18.
In less than just three decades, he says, we could see 22 football robots lining up on a real-life football pitch in a stadium supervised by experts.
And using a controller similar to a Playstation or Xbox one, you’ll be able to dictate their direction, running, passing and shooting from the stands or at home.
Dr Pearson exclusively told Daily Star Online: “You could have a football field, populated by digital fans in the stand, and you would rent the field and the 22 players for an hour and a half football game.
“You’d pay, presumably, quite a lot of money for that. That is what you and your mates would do
“If you didn’t have all of those mates together, you could just join in with a random crowd.
“Or you could book this particular player, you upload the thing you have from your home, and that is your player on the field.”
He continued: “That is how I would do it. Obviously there are lots of ways of skinning a cat, but that is how I would make the game.
“You don’t have to have the robots, but I think it would be more fun than using digital simulations
“Personally you would get more fun from playing your robot football game than just sitting at home playing with FIFA 2045 at the bottom of your screen.”
This will all be possible, the Brit blogger claims, because we will be able to tailor robots to the ability of the human footballers they are replicating.
For instance EA Sports – the brains behind the FIFA gaming franchise – assesses attributes including speed, dribbling and shooting of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo before designing his computer generated player.
But in just the first half of the 21st century, Dr Pearson says we will be able to duplicate the best athletes in the business fit for human controlling
Alternatively, he adds, footie fans could design or purchase their own robots before bringing them along to compete against other people.
Or we could see robot sport play out in a similar fashion to Formula One, with expertise dedicated to a combination of machinery and human performance.
The former rocket scientist – who used to design missiles – said: “If you and your mates owned 22 of these robots, or your rented them for a while, then you could do that.
“You could programme them with whatever skills you want.