I hope this glimpse into the dystopian future of our robot overlords will darken your Sunday.
The Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, as anyone who can set the TV channel to NBC is no doubt aware. And while the biennial showdown between world-class athletes and the nations they represent is entirely a celebration of human excellence, in 2021, at least one robot is being allowed to have a little fun as a treat.
Fresh from the Tokyo Olympics Twitter account, we have this clip of a tiny-headed robot — WHY IS ITS HEAD SO SMALL, Mashable’s EiC asked in Slack — shooting, and sinking, free throws Look at this mad nonsense.
Robots are taking free throws at the #TokyoOlympics.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) July 25, 2021
Nothing but net! (The robot moved further back right after this and immediately sunk a three-point shot with ease as well.)
Why is this robot wearing a jersey with the number 95 on it? I don’t know enough about basketball to have a good answer for you there. But I do know robots, and this almost seven-foot-tall future Robolympics (not actually a thing) superstar has the goods.
Kidding aside, this basketball-slinging robot appears to be CUE, a Toyota-developed creation that was first built — the original model, anyway — in 2018. In 2019, the third version, CUE3, went out to set a Guinness world record. It’s not clear if the one attending the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo is the same model or a better one, but it appears to be from the same line of perfect-shooting automatons. You can read more about the CUE project here.
The odd moment you see above played out as part of the halftime festivities during Sunday’s showdown between Team USA and France. France ultimately won the match-up, 89 to 79.