Will robots ever play sports?

Francisco Javier Lopez Frias, José Luis Pérez Triviño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the possibility of robots engaging in sports. Recently, several movies like Ex-Machina, Chappi, and Transcendence challenge the spectator to think of the consequences of creating artificial intelligences (AI). Although we refer to athletes who have outstanding sporting performances as machines, for example, in cycling people say ‘the cyclist looked like a machine with wheels,’ the potential participation of such AI in sport has not been addressed. For our argument’s sake, we will assume that the creation of human-like robots who will mirror human athletes’ behavior in the playing field will be possible. Recent advances in cybernetics and robotics point in this way. As argued in the literature on philosophy of mind, the fact that intelligent robots seem to be doing something does not imply they are actually doing it. Understood in this way, sport can be conceived as a particular ‘imitation game’ or Turing test, which permits us to distinguish between an artificial intelligence and human beings. The use of sports as a test for AI is key to what we call ‘the Frías-Triviño test.’

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalSport, Ethics and Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Philosophy


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