Thinking about the future of sports (and D&D)

I spent most of my time today writing a class plan for this week’s new ethics/critical thinking topic: The Future of Sports. Some example text:

People have been playing sports for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks held the first Olympic Games, which were originally competitions to see who could run fastest. Over time more events were added, such as discus throwing, wrestling, and chariot races. Chariot racing is an example of an ancient sport where technology is used. In modern times, sports have evolved into many different forms.

• What are some examples of how technology changed the way sports are played?
• How has technology changed the way sports are watched and managed?
• Has technology made sports better or worse? How?

Robotic technology is advancing rapidly. Soon we might have robots capable of playing sports as well as or better than humans.

• Would it make sense to have robots play sports against each other? Would humans watch it?

If robots could play sports as well as humans, we could have robot teams playing against human teams. Or teams with some human and some robot players.

• Could it be good if a human sports league has some robot players?
• What problems might robot athletes cause?

There’s more in between, about tech such as video replays, and modern equipment made of high-tech materials that may give athletes advantages, and so on. This is really much more a critical thinking topic than an ethics topic.

I spent a lot of the day writing this because I didn’t concentrate solidly on it, with a lot of interruptions for minor things. Lunch, walking Scully, goofing off browsing the Internet, pausing to read an Asterix book for the library, etc.

Something I realised today too: remember the new active defence combat system I was working on for D&D? I was thinking that it’d be easier to use the Armour Class as a score to roll under in order to successfully defend. But I realised today that if we use this system, then Armour Class has no other uses… it’s not necessary to record a character’s Armour Class at all. It can be completely replaced with defence scores for Block, Parry, and Evade. So why not turn them into a target to roll equal to or higher than? Then every roll in the game is the same – roll equal to or higher than a target number. So I think I’ll just do that.

(Bob P. commented on my original post that there might also be rolling low for saves, but no, I’m using the old fashioned Basic Rules saving throws, which are equal or beat a target number. So it’s all consistent.)

And switching topics again, for dinner tonight I did a “clear out the fridge of old ingredients”. Half a left-over pack of potato gnocchi, fried up with onion, celery, a chopped zucchini, some mushrooms, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Add a bit of salt and pepper and garlic, and it turned out to be a delicious meal.

New content today:

2 thoughts on “Thinking about the future of sports (and D&D)”

  1. There are already sports that robots can trivially beat any human in, notably weightlifting. Any robot from a Toyota factory that lifts entire car bodies and dips them in a coating vat could defeat four of the world’s top powerlifters.

    The ancient Olympic festivals kept adding competitions, just like the modern Olympics. For instance, they came to include art contests. The book “The Naked Olympics” by Anthony Perrotet is fascinating (and would titillate your young students, but is also probably inappropriate for other reasons in your context–they used to literally kill each other in their version of MMA, for instance).

  2. And there is a yearly world cup for robot football (soccer). With humans watching for fun.

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