Friday, May 04, 2012

Robot Jockeys?

I just read an interesting article on The Wall Street Journal's website that debated the question about whether race horses really need jockeys.

The debate was sparked by a horse that started the race without her rider, having unseated him in the box.

While the article was an interesting read, I think romantic notions of a horse/rider relationship make me a little sad at the thought that this might, indeed, be the way races are conducted in the future.

Far from greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit, to me the thrill of horse racing comes partly from knowing that there is an element of danger involved--that these jockeys have to have skill in order to manoeuvre both themselves and their mounts safely around the track.

But aside from the thrill of danger, the idea of a robot jockey seems so... cold. Inhuman, I guess.

Call me old-fashioned if you want to... but there are some jobs that I just think belong to people, whether they could be done by robots or not.

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