While many bemoan the coming age as that of a time when robots will finally replace human beings for many jobs, the robotic revolution has produced at least some humanitarian benefits. Instead of young boys serving as the jockeys in the United Arab Emirates’ extremely popular camel races, robots have come to help eliminate child labor and human rights violations.
It may be difficult for Western culture to understand why the practice has gone on for so long, especially since camel races are often associated with animal brutality. The robots have been able to bring the traditional sport up to modern standards. Before prompting by the United Nation’s emergency children’s protection fund UNICEF, young boys were often sent by their parents from abroad in order to make money for their families.
Some of the children were as young as 2- and 3-years-old. To keep weights low and their services as a camel jockey competitive, many of the young men were restricted from eating a diet rich in nutrients. At the peak of the child slave trade tied to camel racing, it involved an estimated 40,000 young men scattered across the Persian Gulf. Robots have, at the very least, been a very good thing for children’s rights, reported Irin Films.
As the New York Times explained in a recent article about the practice, camel races are a integral part of the region’s lifestyle. While animal rights groups still decry this practice as barbaric, those who are familiar with the deep ties it has to Arab world’s tradition note that switching child jockeys for robots is already a huge push in the right direction.
Though that’s not to say that everyone prefers the newest addition to the camel racing world — some privately admitted that they would rather have their human counterparts back. Still, for a culture with such a deep love for their hump-backed animals, any change is hard-won and something to be praised.
“Camel racing, in one form or another, has been part of Arabian culture for generations, with some historians tracing races to the seventh century. Camels are viewed as magnificent creatures here — there are even camel beauty pageants — and racing is seen as a unifying activity, a sport that brings together people of all backgrounds, whether royals or paupers, businessman or laborers.”
What are some other positive robot job replacements that you’ve seen besides camel jockeys?
[Image via Flickr]