Google-owned Boston Dynamics are famous for making for robots that are equal parts impressive and terrifying. You have to applaud the creation of robots that can climb hills, carry heavy weights, and pick themselves up when they fall. At the same time it’s fair to say people have had nightmares involving the faceless, insect-dog hybrid sprinting towards them.
What made matters worse was that every interaction between the robots and their masters involved violence. The internet looked on in horror as the engineers kicked and bullied its dogbots to test their balance.
This violence is for good reason. If this technology is to someday be used by the military or during rescue operations, the robots need to withstand being pushed around. We get it, it’s just product testing, but we still cringe every time a human boot comes into contact with an unsuspecting robodog.
Boston Dynamics is now showing off Atlas, an incredible humanoid robot that looks like it always needs to poo. A new video highlights its exceptional skills of carrying heavy objects and navigating difficult terrain without falling over, which is genuinely impressive. It’s still difficult for a lot of manufacturers to get robots to walk up stairs, so Boston Dynamics is making great progress. What better way to demonstrate that progress than by doing what the engineers do best: bullying the robots.
Seriously, we get that the technology is impressive. But maybe plans should be set in motion to dispose of all these videos before the robots realise what’s going on. It’s going to be really awkward when our future robot companions study their history and all they can find are gifs like this:
We are so sorry.
Main image © Boston Dynamics