A Korean baseball team, The Hanwha Eagles, are evidently pretty bad. For the fans, it might be a “lovable loser” scenario, like the Cubs here in the USA. Attendance seems to be poor, too, which can negatively affect morale. The team has come up with a way to artificially make it seem better than it is, and it’s a terrible idea.
The Eagles are set to have robots as fans, but not some sort of futuristic David-from-Prometheus kind of robot. These will be sat in seats, and hold up digital signs. They’ll also have creepy human-like faces (more on that in a minute), meant to give off some sort of “real fan” feel. They fail. These “Fanbots” can cheer, too, and even do the wave.
So who controls these things? Lazy fans from home do. It seems fans watching from home — or at least somewhere that isn’t the stadium — can rent a digital body and have their face displayed on the head. The idea is to get engagement from those at home, and not just let some automaton cheer for the team.
It’s a novel concept, but a bit more than off-putting. We’re sure this is tightly controlled from somewhere on high in the organization (fans likely won’t be able to make up their own digital sign to hold up), so it’s not as free and open as you might think. It’s also creepy and weird, and we want it to stop immediately before we get nightmares.
Via: Big Think