Becoming the Next Lionel Messi

By | July 23, 2018

Humans have two fundamental abilities— physical and cognitive. Majority of today’s professionals— designers, doctors, lawyers, civil servants, scientists and software engineers derive their worth not from their physical ability, but from their cognitive capacity.

Industrial Revolution had rendered physical labour mostly irrelevant; Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution is now set to make our cognitive abilities redundant. Self-driving cars are on the cusp of taking over transportation, algorithms are gaining the ability to produce poems, compose music, draft news reports and translate literature books accurately. What if a sufficiently advanced AI gains enough power and dexterity to replace even doctors, engineers and scientists?

Even if such a scenario plays out, I believe sports and performing arts would remain insulated from an AI onslaught precisely because the appeal of both these fields stems from human performance. For instance, technological advancement in sports has provided modern athletes with scientific diets, better training and computer aids to devise the perfect game strategy, but the athletes themselves aren’t in any way different from say, marathon runners of classical Greece. We pay to watch these athletes perform and compete within the realm of human possibility and we steadfastly detest technology having an overbearing impact on the game. This is why FIA regulates car wingspan, ATP restricts racquet size and every sporting authority bans drug use.

I believe even with a supremely advanced AI, people would still come to watch an inferior, slower and less agile human species battling it out on the field, than watch two machines engage in a pointless duel. An AI doctor might be in greater demand for diagnosing cancer, but no one would want to watch an AI footballer dribble its way past humans and score a goal. Even in the game of chess, ever since IBM’s Deep Blue beat Kasparov in 1997, the supremacy of machines over humans remains undisputed, but there’s hardly any allure for AI chess tournaments.

Regardless of how intelligent and dexterous machines might become, sportsmen and performing artists will remain invaluable to our society. In a future world inundated by AI, I wouldn’t be surprised if the most popular aspiration among kids is not on becoming doctors or scientists but on becoming the next Lionel Messi.

71 thoughts on “Becoming the Next Lionel Messi

  1. Prabhjeet Kaur

    There’s no doubt about it that a strong AI is our future…..but i personally feel that progress is just a kind of illusion…(i mean i am saying this here in a metaphorical way..of-course..i am upsc aspirant and NOT a pessimist definitely…I am a firm believer of welfare state and believe in adequate use of latest technology for realizing it)…..
    If we talk about the probability of survival let alone about success because…
    Success,the way most people understand and evaluate it today, is relatively a new thing may be the creation of capitalist economy prevalent widely all over the world…
    But survival i think in today’s world is just as elusive as it was at the dawn of life on earth billions of years ago…
    At one place as we evaluate the progress of a country through maternal mortality rates and by all means of technology want a new life and her/his mother to survive in this world,thousands of people die in road mishaps that too a creation of technology…At one hand we deploy our valuable resources in the research for antibiotics and other medicines so that we conquer over infection epidemics and on the other we hear about genetic mutations of bacteria and things like drug resistant TB are the truth of our times…
    As the society has progressed we proudly call ourselves “the civilized society” that just by keeping our innate animal like tendencies behind the veils of well behaved personalities and that frequently come out in open… know what i mean…..
    I feel that methods do change, nomenclatures change, the way economies run change, the way humans interact with each other and with all other existent things change… .. situations change hardly…
    By the up-gradation of AI its highly likely that employment patterns of people may change on large scale…as people were doing some other things for living before taking up driving as a means of employment..but for me it seems an utopia that AI will change things for any better….
    so RESPECTED SIR, as you are a student of anthropology, i would feel myself blessed if you could please comment on this ….Is progress any real?
    sorry…. if you found my query out of context of our article….

    1. Prabhjeet Kaur

      Sorry if you found my query out of context of YOUR article…..

  2. Anonymous

    It definitely makes for an interesting read.different from usual blogging topics.please keep posting such stuff. tnx 🙂

  3. Vidhey

    But sir, I think we are only talking about AI and its impact on cognitive ability and thinking physical ability would be of high value in the future but we also should consider the impact of science & technology in the field of genetics in future, the genome editing can be a game changer in the field of sports, bringing out the best of the abilities of a human.

  4. Sai Chalapathi Rao

    You are absolutely right sir. This article has a very deep meaning and i believe choosing sports and performing arts as profession will bring a lot of satisfaction and happiness and a healthy life.

  5. Md Farrukh Ilyas

    ” I write to find what I think ” Stephen King , this is indeed, inspiring Anudeep I even tagged you in my story on instagram, the word you pen down is just goes straight to my nerves and deep understanding , you have audacity to fetch the dead soul alive through your inspiring words, you made see the world which really exist and that is one’s dream, and working hard to achieve that particular, which will remain constant as proud and smile .

    Thank you for all those words of igniting minds and hearts.

    “A word after a word after word is a power” margaret atwood

  6. abhi

    sir i want to take anthropology as my optional after my 3 attempt with public administration, please
    .guide me should i take any coaching class.. If so please suggest me the institute

  7. Anonymous

    Sir i am nilesh, i have just cleared tje mains. My hobby is playing football and following european league. Could you suggest some resources preparation.

  8. Poorvi Kundwani

    But I guess a new era of alternative sports can emerge, bot fights can be seen as its beginning.
    I believe and as you mentioned once in your Roger Federer post, that it’s the beauty with which they play that takes us away from the reality and we appreciate the efforts s/he would’ve put in to reach god level.
    If that’s the case then a football match(or any other) of beautifully engineered humanoid robots would surely be loved atleast by geeks. And a particular robot with the perfectly created sleak body design and best machine to improve by itself with every game, would be admired by thousands.(As how we now admire the best gadgets and cars in the market)
    And the nerdy childrens would still dream to become the one who makes the best bot player…Maybe 😛
    (I know there are loopholes in this, it depends upon how much power AI gets in the future, if we remain as the ones creating them this scenario is possible but if they overpower us then it won’t me much fun, anyway just putting random thoughts)
    Thankyou 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    Treble this season ???
    I like your writing style bro?
    Keep doing ?

  10. Vivek sinha

    Excellent analysis.. but with less emphasis on physical sports and increased inclination of the young ones towards video games… a potential clientele eager to watch machines fighting exists..


    Sir i am IAS aspirant who will u choose between ronaldo or messi? Plz reply sir


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