In several Middle Eastern countries, notably Jordan, Abu Dhabi, and other Gulf nations, racing camels has been
In several Middle Eastern countries, notably Jordan, Abu Dhabi, and other Gulf nations, racing camels has been a popular activity for generations. The owners of the winning camels can earn a huge bonus (up to $1,000,000 for first place). The events are also considered cultural and social. The Problem For a long time, the racing camels were guided by human jockeys. The lighter the weight of the rider, the better the chance to win. So the owners of the camels trained children (as young as seven) to be jockeys. Young male children were bought (or kidnapped) from poor families in Sudan, India, Bangladesh, etc. and trained as child jockeys. This practice was used for generations until it was banned in all Middle Eastern countries between 2005 and 2010. A major factor that resulted in the banning was the utilization of robots. The Robots' Solution Racing camels was a tradition for many generations and had become a lucrative sport, so no one wanted to abolish it entirely. According to Opfer (2016), there was a humanistic reason for using robots to race camels-to save the children. Today, all camel race tracks in the Middle East employ only robots. The robots are tied to the hump of the camels, looking like small jockeys, and are remote controlled from cars that drive parallel to the racing camels. The owners can command the camels by voice, and they can also operate a mechanical whip to spur the animals to run faster, much like human jockeys do. Note that camels do not run unless they hear the voice of a human or see something that looks like a human on their humps. The Technology A video camera shows people driving in cars alongside the camels what is going on in real time. The owner can provide voice commands to the camel from the car and control the mechanical whip attached to the hump of the camel.
Questions for Case
1. It is said that the robots eradicated the use of child slavery. Explain.
2. Why do the owners need to drive alongside their camels while they are racing?
3. Why not duplicate the technology for horse racing?
4. Summarize the ethical aspects of this case (Read Boddington, 2017). Do this exercise after you have read about ethics in Chapter 14.
Step by Step Answer: