Before we leap two-footed into this week's malodorous pit of AI sludge (sorry in advance, but I will try and make it short), a brief bit of AI-adjacent future magic for you to enjoy. 'Robots playing football' has, for years now, been a pretty reliable bit of lightweight internet video comedy – look at them stumble! Look at them shuffle!
Fcuk off, Boston Dynamics, you can't even perfect a simple wall pass! What is wrong with you? And whilst this isn't going to make any existing pros fear for their immediate futures (although as a Chelsea fan I would happily take any of these lads over the prospect of spending any more time paying João Félix's wages – sorry, that was a brief digression into FootballChat but it won't happen again) it is undeniably quite impressive.
The robots here (via Ben Matthews) exhibit some pretty sophisticated behaviours, narrowing angles for shots, quick changes of direction, and a frankly suicidal defensive impulse that shows them attempting to save shots with their 'faces' wherever possible – perhaps most impressive is the ball control on display, and the fact that at various points in the video linked here they…they seem to sort-of know what they are doing. If we can just pick up the pace on this we'll all be able to enjoy robo-enabled real-life Speedball II in just a few short years.