Cheer-bots-I didn’t see it coming

I read a lot about robots taking our jobs, but of all the jobs I saw mentioned-and I read the OECD report-every page-I never saw anyone say ‘cheerleader’. No clear solid statement ever that cheer leaders would be replaced by robots in my lifetime…read more

I read a lot about robots taking our jobs, but of all the jobs I saw mentioned-and I read the OECD report-every page-I never saw anyone say ‘cheerleader’. No clear solid statement ever that cheer leaders would be replaced by robots in my lifetime. Perhaps you are thinking that is because lots of people don’t think of cheer leading as a ‘proper’ job. I didn’t either until it was taken over by ‘robots’. These are not robots that look human, they’re not your fake looking female variety of the human like bot. These ‘cheer-bots’ look like robots, like any number of robots you have seen on the telly. Not a ponytail in sight here.

I had to come to an American football game to believe it. And now I have seen it. But- I still don’t believe it. Even having watched it, I don’t quite believe it. I understood nothing of the game itself and having watched it, think I might actually understand even less. It went on for a very long time. But the robots-the ‘cheer-bots’ were-fascinating-I think. I mean there are whole channels devoted to ‘cheer-bots’ on the internet. They are immensely popular. Just how did that happen? I mean cheer leaders replaced by robots. I just didn’t see it coming.

Some people blame the cheer leaders themselves, and frankly having read a lot about cheer leading recently, they seem to have a long history of having to take responsibility for the behaviour of others. It seems quite typical. Before this happened, it turns out cheer leaders were paid a pittance but were largely responsible (and when I mean responsible I don’t mean actually responsible so much as an expectation that they would accept responsibility in the way women often have to) for a lot of bad behaviour by other people (I think you know who I mean) whilst at the same time having their own rather innocuous behaviour policed quite a lot. I mean how dare they choose their own outfits and take a picture wearing that outfit and then put that photo online-scandalous. I mean that is just gob-smackingly bad behaviour-apparently.

I mean a photo-in an outfit they chose- on line- the audacity. I mean it’s the kind of behaviour that’s right up there with-ooh I don’t know, eating the last biscuit but leaving the packet in the cupboard, or finishing the milk and putting the empty container back in the fridge. Actually it really isn’t quite as bad as that because that is really annoying. Why can’t bots just sort that out? A milk-bot-now that would be useful. It would sort of look like a cow-maybe smaller because it has to fit in my kitchen and it would just dispense milk on request. It should also do yoghurt and cream I think, maybe a really sophisticated model could do cheese or butter. Way off topic now. But I do want one. It could ‘moo’ gently in the morning to get me out of bed-better than an alarm. It could waft the smell of freshly cut grass through the kitchen but no other cow related smells will be required-let’s be clear on that. No other smells.

It was only 5 years ago that the Dallas Cowboys cheer leading squad performed with the first robot as part of the routine. It was funny. It was cute. I am sure at the time they had no idea it was the beginning of the end. I can’t remember what came next, but within a year, they all had a kind of performing robot as part of the line up. Each one looked slightly different. Then one team just out of the blue- maxed out on bots. No more women, just robots Then everyone did it. And cheerleaders were gone-replaced. Within a season, just gone. Now we have cheer-bots. Its hard to say if it’s a step forward. Football itself is dying, was dying ( I mean the game and not just the players) but this whole cheer-bot thing is  bringing in a whole new audience.

I feel for the cheer leaders, years of training. They are literally professional athletes in America and their behaviour was ridiculously policed which was always contentious. But it just seems a bit surreal. I mean cheer-bots, surely robots could just be put to a more useful use and the cheer leaders could just keep cheering if they wanted to. It’s not what they promised with the whole robot thing. If you can produce a robot that can cheer lead (is that the phrase) why not one that can wash my car. I guess bots give less trouble than cheer leaders. They never object to work conditions. Robots probably don’t worry if no one gives them any respect. They certainly don’t post pictures in their clothing of choice on line-did I mention scandalous? I guess they keep the bots in the cupboard when they aren’t using them. I don’t think they did that with cheer leaders although having read some of their work conditions, I am not ruling it out. They probably use up more electricity than cheer leaders, but then they can be transported in the cargo hold so there are plusses and minuses. Its just not a debate I thought I’d be having-ever. Cheer –bots versus cheer leaders, it makes no sense.

Of course  there are still rumours about certain players-which is  weird because these things don’t look human at all. They look like robots. They aren’t covered in human-like skin. They are very definitely machines. They are very effective, if slightly mechanical sounding. I think the sound has improved a lot since they began. I admit, they can do things cheer leaders can’t-well not just cheer leaders, other humans as well-one team has ‘hover cheer-bots’ They levitate and perform. Its very clever. Of course they aren’t constricted to just four limbs either so the octo-bots have proven very popular.

Its just that idea of all the jobs that could go to a robot, I just thought cheer leading was safe. I mean I wasn’t bringing up my son or daughter to be one. It just makes you think. I saw one of them interviewed, she thinks its temporary but it shows no sign of dissipating in popularity. Even the NFL thingy came out –the governing body –whatever its called came out and said it was time to move on from human cheer leaders to robots. The system was arcane, they were stepping into the next century early-no they actually said that last bit. Apparently they want to be there before everybody else or something. Its only 2024 so perhaps they are not aware of just how early that is or perhaps it’s a reference to the previous century and they are a tad behind. Its best not to argue with blokes who’ve worn helmets for most of their lives-that is not a rule that is specific to a football code, that is just a general rule of thumb that I live by. Just take the words at face value and try not to laugh.

I just don’t get it. I mean I thought I’d understand it when I saw it but I just don’t get it. Cheerleaders-replaced by robots-its surreal.

2 thoughts on “Cheer-bots-I didn’t see it coming

  1. very funny. i especially enjoyed the interlude about a dairy-products dispensing cow-bot. i kept trying to imagine the cheer-bots in my head, not what they looked like, but how they would perform…i think i’m on the same page as the narrator with this one; just can’t imagine why…


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