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"Every scientist worth his salt that I know of has read science fiction."
- Greg Bear

Governing Keyboard  
  A remote-controlled robot responds to keyboard commands.  

"...we had the satisfaction of seeing a robot out on the field do practically everything that a man can do, and entirely under our control. We made a governing keyboard, the final evolution of which you saw today. Pressing one key made the robot raise his right arm, while another key started him running. By holding down that key and pressing another one he swerved to the left.

“As a machine, it was practically perfect, but in itself it had no intelligence. It was still necessary for the human mind to guide its movements. So, it became our task to select men and train them to use these machines; to sit in the grandstands and work the governing keyboards in such a way as to get one hundred percent efficiency from the robot ball players.

Technovelgy from The Threat of the Robot, by David H. Keller.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1929
Additional resources -

Who would be the best at controlling the robots to play football?

“We found that to properly work one of the machines required a very high grade of intelligence. And when it came to selecting eleven men who could work as a team, in perfect harmony with each other, so the eleven robots would act as one well-run machine, why, that was an almost impossible task. It was soon discovered that the best type of collegians were little men with clever brains. Chess and bridge players made good players, if they could be trained to use their hands quickly enough.

“Finally, the grand idea occurred to me. The television audience did not care much whether the players were machines or men, so long as they saw a real fast and interesting game. It became more and more impossible to obtain real players, so why not form teams of eleven robots and have the intercollegiate competition consist of the skill in making faster and better robots and in training team of eleven undergraduates to work at the keyboards. I proposed that plan ten years ago, and it was enthusiastically adopted as a new game. But it was so superior to football that the old game was abandoned, and the new game received the old name. The papers now speak of the students who sit at the keyboards and the undergraduates who are able to build the most perfect machines. We still have coaches, but the electrical expert at every big college is the big man, and he is praised or blamed for victory or defeat.”

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Threat of the Robot
  More Ideas and Technology by David H. Keller
  Tech news articles related to The Threat of the Robot
  Tech news articles related to works by David H. Keller

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