HUBO the humanoid just carried the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics torch through South Korea

Volunteers are at the heart of any Olympic games. During the London Olympics in 2012, 70,000 “Games Makers” donned purple T-shirts and cheerfully helped visitors navigate the city.

HUBO the humanoid just carried the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics torch through South Korea

But now, even these unpaid jobs are at risk from robots. For the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Commerce Ministry has announced that 85 robots will form part of its volunteer team.

According to Yonhap News Agency, there will be eleven different types of robots deployed in three major cities near Pyeongchang.

These robots will provide information to tourists on event schedules, as well as transportation and tourist attractions. Other robots will help with deliveries, fishing and cleaning, and some will be located in airports to assist people travelling in and out of Pyeongchang.

These speaking robots will give information in four different languages: Korean, Chinese, English and Japanese. Robots across the city will also be deployed to paint murals on the walls, because nothing is better than robot-made art.

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What’s even weirder though is that, to really show the world how the country has embraced the robot revolution, the South Korean Ministry is making a walking humanoid robot will be bearing the torch. At an event in Pyeongc hang on Monday, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s HUBO robot carried the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics relay torch for part of the relay in Daejon, South Korea. 

 South Korea isn’t the only country embracing robots during the Olympics. In fact, it’s not even in the same league as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Authorities there have already begun work on a village that will be populated solely with robots and athletes, as well as self-driving taxis.

On average, Olympics are said to create 20,000 jobs for volunteers and workers, but the path towards a robotic Olympic future could change that.

What would the London Olympics have been without those purple, smiling Games Makers?

Image: Office of Naval Research

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