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FLUFF FOLLOWS:

To the surprise of everyone except for several now dead military analysts, Futurestan lost the war with OBF. This is probably because the dumb rioters that were catapulted into space brought with them the knowledge necessary for the average (single) emotionless super soldier to defeat the robot menace via EMP-otov. Also, having made more mistakes to learn from, the Democratic People's Republic of Futurestan realized they probably should not have removed happiness from the people who hold guns in their hands professionally.

SEMI-IMPORTANT:

That being said: one of the conditions of their surrender was to probably never have a standing army ever again. For their own good. That's literally how the second amendment of their constitution reads. So now they have all of this emotion removing super soldier equipment (cloning beds, genetic modification sponges, and improperly grounded behavior modification coat hangers) along with the equipment to store a personality on one or several 3.5 inch floppy disks, but no war machine to feed. AND THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENED!!! A genetically advanced super archaeologist who definitely had happiness this time discovered an ancient SI magazine. Yes magazine, for those who don't know New South Yellspeak. In it, it talked of these things called "sports".

ACTUAL IMPORTANT QUESTION:

Assuming that they could actually understand the rules of the sports of today: how would sports change when the body was no longer a limiting factor? What I mean is: they can clone and genetically modify human bodies then download people into them via 1 - 10 floppy disks and some simple shell commands. How does this change sports?

KEEP IN MIND:

  • Disemboweling and otherwise maiming people still makes the average person sort of squeamish. Blood is okay. A knee facing the wrong way not so much.
  • Players bodies are still squishy. Concussions and stuff still effect them. A sufficient enough concussion can make data overwriting in the brain impossible.
  • It takes a non-trivial amount of time to back-up a player onto a disk(s), so they can't just back them up between periods or whatever. Between games probably.
  • NO. DOWNLOADING. KUNG-FU.
  • No robots. Even if the state religion of Futurestan didn't forbid robots learning things EVEN HARDER THAN BEFORE, the Church of Bob, which most robots and AIs belong to, forbids participation in sport. And Futurestan owns the governing bodies of all sports.
  • Assume they have access to Sports Illustrated magazine from its inception to present/near future (think 2020 cutoff).
  • They are still human resembling. They can increase body mass, bone density, and Daniel Bryan-esque baby necks, but no hands where they would not generally have hands.
  • Memories and experience can get backed up. But you would be sacrificing practice time for all that backing up and if a person learns something amazing in one play then suffers a massive concussion it all goes into the toilet.
  • No one gets eSports. That is not what Bob is for.

Bonus points: if they could fairly easily go from professional athlete to super soldier without pointy electrified things.

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  • $\begingroup$ Feel frees to tag edit. This one was hard. $\endgroup$ – Jake May 4 '16 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ Is gambling allowed? $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate May 4 '16 at 9:40
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    $\begingroup$ Back up and restore? I'm stuck on the Continuity Problem $\endgroup$ – Separatrix May 4 '16 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ @AmiralPatate Yes. $\endgroup$ – Jake May 4 '16 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Bob's third commandment: Thou shalt not think about the terrifying existential consequences of post Bob technology. $\endgroup$ – Jake May 4 '16 at 15:59
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Recreational Sports

It turns out that moderately competitive exercise with friends and peers can be fun. There may be a revival of recreational or social sports. Interesting mashups, such as Calvinball, might also make a reappearance.

However, I expect you mean professional sports; I assume that from here on out.

A Limiting Factor

These athletes would still feel pain. Thus more dangerous/lethal sports may become acceptable, but not as common as you may think. I imagine dying is unpleasant, even if you know you have another backup consciousness.

Training

With consciousness backups, it would be possible to train extensively across dozens or hundreds of years and remain at your physical peak. Bodies may even become disposable. Why bother making a body that can digest solid food when the game is only going to last a few hours?

Stock

We currently have things like stock car racing, limited materials for golf clubs/balls, and acceptable ranges for inflation pressures on footballs. The future you describe would likely have 'stock body' competitions, wherein every athlete is genetically and morphologically identical.

Expanding on that theme, you may have more freedom to play, genetically speaking. I'd imagine any team sports with varying positions would end up with 2-3 local maxima optimizations.

Depending on your definition of the backup process, it may be possible to have a clone team that also shares copies of the same consciousness. Not quite reading teammate's minds, but surely the next best thing. I think the results here would be uncanny.

For that matter, if a player becomes injured, it may be possible to send out an exact clone with mostly the same memories as a replacement.

Retro

Another field of opportunity here is 'retro' sports, where everyone is an unmodified human. While less extreme than the clone sports, there may be an appeal similar to college/university sports vs. professional.

Totally Not Super-soldiers

Some sports, like MMA and boxing, might naturally be misconstrued as combat training. Other sports like trail running and marathon running also have obvious military application. Sports like the biathalon (skiing and target shooting) and the Tough Mudder events (obstacle courses and running) would round out training pretty nicely, I should think.

Cross-training in these might become popular.

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What should we do this nice sunny Florbday afternoon?

Sports are a recreational activity for most people. Alternatively, it's a fitness thing. Either way, if people seek a way to entertain themselves and/or stay fit, sports is a valid option. How liked this option will be depends on the kind of technologies available. However, sports don't require a lot of investment. You typically only need a ball and a play area.

At the very least, there will be the novelty factor. Maybe this thing you call sport will create enough buzz that it will become an instant hit, with all the kool kidz (with Ks and Zs that's how cool they are) playing the football and such. It may be a temporary fad, or it may be the beginning of a wonderful friendship something.

Fun with rules

Sports have a lot of rules. Take footie for instance. There's that offside rule that many people struggle with. There's also the penalty kick rule. Most people assume that all fouls in the penalty area result in a penalty kick. However, only fouls that would result in a direct free kick result can result in a penalty kick. Fouls that would result in indirect free kick will still result in indirect free kick no matter where the foul happens. You know, rules.

If all you have is magazines, the finer points of rules will be lost in translation. Offside would likely remain because it happens often enough it will get mentioned and shown, maybe even explained. It might be transformed into a more generic "don't camp the goal" rule. The indirect free kick in penalty area rule would likely disappear, because nobody knows that rule even exists today.

It should be noted that rules evolve. They appear and disappear, they get modified or amended, though the goal of the game stays the same. For instance, you don't play Olympic games naked anymore, which is kind of a shame but I guess it's the price to pay for not living in Ancient Greece. So when archaeologists reintroduce sports, even if they have the complete antique rulebook doesn't mean the rules will be applied verbatim.

Rules really only matter to pro sports though. Recreationally, you usually try your best to play fair and not cheat like a dirtbag. Unless it would be funny not to.

Cha-ching

At this point, we've pretty much assumed there are pro teams, leagues and competitions. Why? Well, it's a new form of entertainment. As stated before, if there's enough buzz that people start doing the sports, they might also watch it and create a demand for a whole new industry! Cha-ching!

Think about it. Teevee distribution rights, seats for live events, sponsoring opportunities, team jerseys and other assorted merchandise! Cha-ching!

And then you have gambling and bookmaking. The sport might only exist so people can place bets on it. I mean, realistically, that's the whole point of horse racing. It's not stupider than going to the casino and watch a ball roll around the roulette, so why not. Bets for everybody! Cha-ching!

And all of that can be taxed! Cha-ching!

Push it to the limit

You can make players that are harder, better, faster, stronger. So the rules could accomodate for it. In basketball and footie, you can't typically charge other players. In baseball, throwing the bat at the other team to distract them isn't a legal strategy. Well, what if you could charge players without hurting them, or if they had heads thougher than a wood bat, that could become a valid strategy allowed by the rules.

Where do you put the limit though? You may argue that you don't need limits since you can reincarnate players. Big deal. By the looks of it, it's not a guaranteed process.

A sufficient enough concussion can make data overwriting in the brain impossible.

That sounds like the possibility of permadeath. If the rules allow for deadly contact, then you'd have big beefy dudes throwing themselves at each other, actively trying to hurt. Fatal accidents will happen much more regularly, and that's bad for business. On top of that, if it's non-trivial and extremely painful (at least to watch), it won't make for an enjoyable experience.

The bottom line of this is that "bodies are mostly expendable". Would you try something if you would mostly survive it? It's that bit of uncertainty that would make it completely inhumane to pit players in potential deathmatches. I mean, I'm considering clones are living beings and not objects.

I'll rest my case, rules should still limit contact in a way that prevent physical harm, however if players have a higher physical threshold, then it might be perfectly legal to play rough without doing harm. So I guess it's not that much of a change in the end.

Are you not entertained?

You've mentioned that most people aren't bloodthirsty. However, there might be a niche market for that. It will probably be illegal too. Introducing the extreme-death-sport underground circuit. There's only one rule: no rules allowed.

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