Battlebots is NOT violence

Posted by Dan at 04/12/2001 2:59 AM EST

Other on team - from Carnegie Mellon sponsored by -.

In Reply to: Re: Battlebots is NOT violence
Posted by s_alaniz on 04/12/2001 12:25 AM EST:

BattleBots demonstrates exactly what FIRST sets out to demonstrate; that science and engineering are fun and not comprised solely of boring engineers in white lab coats.  And I do believe that BattleBots does a hell of a job at doing this.  It reaches a lot of people and has some hugely positive effects on competitors and fans alike.  No matter how vulgar and base you think it is you cannot deny this.
 As far as the violence issue goes, I really do not see how this projects onto the actions of humans.  Like the father of robotic combat, Marc Thorpe, once said "even chess is violent if you think about it."  I mean exactly what is so wrong that happpens in that arena?  Is it the destruction of carefully designed creations that concerns you?  
  First of all there isn't much destruction--most is superficial--second of all destruction fosters creation and improvement.  All engineers test their products until failure to see what they're worth.  And besides--you FIRST people should know this--the robot isn't the point, it's the process that precedes and creates it that matters.
 It's not really a gladiator spectacle either since no humans are involved--it's hard to have "mortal combat" when "immortals" are competing.  And speaking of a gladiator spectacle, aren't all sports really just gladiator spectacles?  I mean Dale Earnhardt as well as many other sports stars risk(ed) their lives to entertain and compete for fame and fortune.
I'm sorry, I just don't see where everyone get's this "bad influence" thing.  Do you actually know any people who have been negatively influenced by BattleBots?  I mean if it influences them to build a robot--whether it has a hammer or a goal-balancing arm--then it's great in my opinion.


Posted by Will Garcia at 04/12/2001 12:41 PM EST

College Student on team #59, Ramtech, from Miami Coral Park Sr. High and EAC, FIU.

In Reply to: Re: Battlebots is NOT violence
Posted by s_alaniz on 04/12/2001 12:25 AM EST:

Steve and all,
Hi, I’m an MIT student who used to be involved with the FIRST team #59 (Miami, FL). I loved FIRST. It’s what got me interested in robotics and probably helped me to get into MIT.

Since I’ve been here I have NOT participated in FIRST mainly because of the huge time sink that it is. But, this year I started a small Battlebots team here at MIT and we are entering in this year’s competition. So far it has been a blast. Everyone that I talk to about it has an opinion on how we should design our robot (even if they’ve never seen the show before!). It is also amazing how so many professors here at MIT (obviously not W. Flowers) are super excited about us doing Battlebots. They think that it is an incredible way to test out the engineering design process, which it is. I have yet to see anyone up here (besides Flowers) complain that what we are doing is violent. I think that there is a part of human nature that loves to see two entities (robots, people, etc.) compete against each other. It is simply a comparison of the two opponents abilities against each other and it is extremelely exciting to watch.

One thing that really bothers me is that there is a camp of people who believe that these two (or more) robotic sporting events CANNOT coexist. There is certainly enough room in this world for many robotic events, especially if they are different in some way. Also, there is definitely a need for a competition that goes beyond FIRST and I think Battlebots is probably it. I say this because I’ve noticed that my friends, who are college students helping out Team 59, like doing FIRST, but it is still a HIGH SCHOOL event. They need/want some way of demonstrating/honing their engineering skills in a way that is not available through FIRST. And Battlebots does this 100%.

Lastly, I want to comment on your comment about the lack of cooperation in Battlebots. I have not been to a BB competition, so I can’t describe the feel of the pits as others can, BUT, while we’ve been building our machine we’ve been in communication with several other teams. We share ideas, tell each other where to get the good deal on a super-awesome motor, give suggestions to each other’s bots, etc. From experience I think that there is more cooperation before the actual event than is demostrated in FIRST. And from what Nola and others can tell you, the pits at both competitions are about equally cooperative. So please, at least try to experience an event like Battlebots before you claim that it’s not cooperative.

-Will Garcia