Back when I posted about Delores, the Westworld robot, I mentioned a question that once came up in a science fiction fan forum: What’s the collective noun for robots? A mechanation of robots? A clank of robots? I suggested an Asimov of robots, but maybe the best suggestion was an uprising of robots.
An uprising of robots could refer to the scary Terminator scenario, but could also be taken as just meaning the rising up of (non-killer, useful) robots. That latter interpretation being not just factual, but quite operative already.
So for this Wednesday Wow, an uprising of robots…
Boston Dynamics has been around since 1992, and over the years I’ve really enjoyed videos I’ve seen of their work. It’s pretty leading-edge stuff.
Some recent videos are just jaw-dropping. (There are a lot of them here, but they’re all very short. Few minutes max.)
You may find these either (or some combination of): Awesome, eerie, scary, amazing, creepy, weird, or really funny. (Put me down for all of the above.)
We’ll start with Atlas, a humanoid robot designed with dangerous search and rescue operations in mind.
The videos speak for themselves, so I’m just going to step out of the way and let you watch.
The 2016 video is called, Atlas, The Next Generation:
It’s so cool how he (he?) stumbles but maintains his balance using his legs.
Apparently they can also find work in warehouses. You do have to wonder about that supervisor though. At what point does Atlas decide it would be better to eliminate the human to solve the problem?
(Is that why the human testing him seems almost kinda fearful? 😮 )
These next two, Parkour Atlas and More Parkour Atlas, are from 2108:
Atlas is quite the acrobot:
It’s a shoulders of giants thing, the inexorable incremental progress of science and technology.
Getting away from the humanoid form, we have a robot named Handle:
Handle is intended as a research robot (perhaps handling dangerous materials?) here repurposed as a warehouse bot.
(Seems both Atlas and Handle are being set up for warehouse jobs.)
Saving the best for last, robot dogs!
And once again, you gotta wonder when the robot figures out the best solution is dealing directly with the problem:
There are hints here of all sorts of ethical issues we’ll eventually have to deal with. A great deal depends on what kind of “brains” (and “minds”) we end up giving these robots.
It’s certainly impossible to deny how useful machines like this are:
I don’t know why, but that one is a bit eerie to me. Something about the clicking-clacking noise (see last video for another example).
An army of these wouldn’t be silent. The noise is almost insect-like.
On the other hand, this video is hysterical and the star of the show:
It twerks, it moonwalks; I want one!
This is a lot of videos to put in one post; I hope it doesn’t completely bog down the page load times. I’m going to risk one more just because it’s so cute.
I really want one of these…
No, I want an army of these!
If you like these, there are compilations around that stitch a lot of this together into a single video that’s maybe easier to share with others. Here I just wanted to stick with the originals.
As the MIT video shows, Boston Dynamics aren’t the only ones doing this, so there are videos from other sources as well. (More from Boston Dynamics on their channel, too.)
Stay on good terms with our eventual robot masters, my friends!