A Critically Sarcastic Review of the Technology at the 2022 Winter Olympics

A Critically Sarcastic Review of the Technology at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Sebastian Hurst

A healthy sense of unease around robots taking control is nothing new to the human experience, or at least makes for good TV. However, this unnervingly futuristic 2-armed coffee maker makes the inevitable downfall at the hands of our very own tin-headed overlords slightly more concerning. With facial and voice recognition already programmed into this less friendly Baymax lookalike, it’s just a matter of time before people call for its dismantling. 

While bootleg R2-D2 over here continues to learn how to pour well-crafted americanos, the more interesting blend seems to be how China’s ongoing trade expo has combined with this year’s Winter Olympics to turn Wall-E into a documentary. 

Every part of both the Olympic village and its event halls have been streamlined for its participants. Athletes can call specialized cargo buses to deliver the requested items from throughout Beijing. 

All items paid for through digital wallets designed for phones, smartwatches, badges, and even ski gloves. These wallets can be accessed without any form of cell service just by the wave of a hand. 

Additionally, robots have been stationed for urgent medical attention, hand sanitizer dispensers/room cleaners, and even to catch visitors not wearing their masks properly. 

For the most part, Optimus Prime’s older cousin, sentient shopping carts, and other excuses to be lazier come off as ways for China to show off their engineering and generate attention in the media. The Olympics being a great source of national attention that doesn’t come from political discourse. 

And although being able to avoid human interaction while shopping seems to be the direction we are headed, these Olympic Games also highlighted the future of commercialized broadcasting. Not being able to see the Olympics live is just another thing we can thank COVID for. 

Comcast being given the exclusive streaming rights have turned the experience to VR. Viewers are able to get together with up to 3 other friends online and stream the games from a luxurious virtual suite. 

Broadcasters are able to represent the games well with new state-of-the-art high SS motion tracking and image-stabilized cameras all in either high definition range 4K (HDR), or the experimental, ultra high definition 8K (UHD). 

Changes like these are what make speed sports like downhill skiing or speed skating capturable by photographers and videographers alike. Fancy camera phrases aside, these Olympic Games will set a standard for image quality across the board. 

With life-making science fiction writers of the 1990s looking like prophets it’s no wonder the Olympics remains as a staple of national pride for countries, the culmination of athletic talent with some of the smartest minds in tech makes for a pretty crazy experience. 

It’s important to remember how far most of these luxuries are from commercial use. So as you yell at your virtual home assistant to order more toilet paper, dim your room’s lights with a clap of your hand, and watch a movie streamed from a library of thousands. remember how far out we are from the future, It’s really quite amazing.