But what if the fighters aren’t human?
In 1994, Robot Wars debuted as a live event in San Francisco. Four years later, the BBC began broadcasting the show by the same name. Most of us are familiar with the premise: people build remote-controlled fighting robots equipped with spikes, hammers, axes, or some other weaponry, and then the robots throw down cage-match style. A victorious bot wins by immobilizing its opponent for 10 seconds, pushing it into a hazard area on the floor, or knocking it into a trench. The robots defend themselves from attacks by dodging or shielding, and many can right themselves if knocked askew.
Humans’ fascination with fighting robots continues to grow. Perhaps that’s attributable to our taste for increasingly sophisticated and varied entertainment, or perhaps these battles hold a glimpse of the future. Drones, as well as surveillance and supply robots, have been used in warfare for a while, and infantry robots are on the way. Twenty-first-century warfare specialist P.S. Singer believes that because of robots, “mankind’s 5,000 year monopoly on the fighting of war is breaking down in our very lifetime.” Among other things, battling robots may condition humans to the changing landscape of war. Or maybe this is robots’ way of training themselves for the uprising, and for the day when they’ll remotely control us.