Can You Do A Backflip? Because This Robot Can

Tyler Durden's picture

Since being founded in 1992 with funding from DARPA, robotics company Boston Dynamics has unveiled one nightmarish robotic creation after another. But the company outdid itself this week when it introduced the latest iteration of its ‘Atlas’ robot.

The company caused a stir after publishing a video on YouTube showing the hulking humanoid robot jumping across platforms of varying heights and even perform backflips on command - some of the most advanced capabilities demonstrated by any bipedal robot.

If you’re wondering how this seemingly trivial ability portends imminent warfare between mankind and the machines, then you need to ask yourself: When was the last time you did a standing backflip?

Unless you’re a gymnast, the answer is probably never.

Unsurprisingly, the video inspired a cascade of commentary about humanity’s impending obsolescence:





Though apparently there are still some mundane tasks that Atlas has not yet mastered...



Boston Dynamics also made headlines earlier this week by introducing a polished dog-like robot that sits somewhere along the slope of Freud’s 'Valley of the Uncanny'...

The robot is called the SpotMini. The company has released few details about it other than a promotional video showing it trotting across a grassy field and the teaser text “Coming Soon”.

Meanwhile, an international group of scientists have seemingly taken a cue from Elon Musk and are demanding that governments take steps to regulate automated lethal weapons systems before the technology comes into its own, purportedly to prevent the plot of the Terminator series from unfolding in real life.

It’s been a big week for the robots, sure. However, while humanoid robots like Atlas are becoming more adept at completing tasks in the physical world, their cousins on Wall Street still can’t quite figure out how to buy the fucking dip.


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Stu Elsample's picture

Can that robot shoot an AR??

takeaction's picture

Better than you....and while running....and at night...accuracy 100%.


One here...

Stu Elsample's picture

Someone has to keep the power source and ammunition supplied to the robot. Let's track that person down.

BigJim's picture


That... "person"... is a robot too.

ghengis86's picture

Standing back tuck off a raised platform. I can still do that. On the flat ground...not so much and I bet the same is true for the robot. So, I still have the advantage. For now....

merizobeach's picture

"When was the last time you did a standing back flip?"

Ok, never.  Standing front flip, one time--spring 2000: a spontaneous decision while up the mountain in Topanga state park, overlooking the Santa Monica coast and downtown LA, and discussing the marvelous capacities of the human mind with a new girlfriend as we tripped on mushrooms.

No other attempts before or since.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Atlas the robot flipped, just before he shrugged.  Kind of ironic that the oligarchs named their human replacing robot Atlas, isn't it?  But I'm sure it's because they think it is the better system, where useless eaters are not gumming up their perfectly oiled machine.  Bare knuckle capitalism, bitchez.  Or should I say titanium knuckle capitalism.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

They'll name the next one Dagny, and insert gold coins into her chest slot so that she flips eggs for them in their mountain stealth kibbutzes.  Useless eaters!

Endgame Napoleon's picture

In my most dexterous years, I made cheerleader one time. I could not believe it. It took me the entire summer to learn to do a cartwheel into the splits, the one and only cheerleader skill in my repertoire other than loudness. Kids I babysat for could do backflips and other acrobatics with ease, and they did not have to practice for 3 months. Now, robots have eliminated all of the glory. Next thing you knew. they will be winning every gold medal at the Olympics. A robot ice dancer...ugh.

. . . _ _ _ . . .'s picture

Wait'll they go nuclear and are armed with plasma guns.

There are nuclear satellites no bigger than that robot.

ebworthen's picture

The "Atlas" is the future of the NFL. 

And, they'll stand and put their hand on their "hearts" when the national anthem plays.

They probably won't be beating up any significant others either.

Goodell - start planning the half-time charging stations.

yogibear's picture

LOL, a spray can of silver metallic paint will disable these puppies. 

A bunch of malfunctioning garbage at the curb and a bunch of pissed off people waiting.

SixIsNinE's picture

trouble is you're thinking 20th century style - there are a million ways to mitigate such primitive attacks so that any attacker would be rendered disabled or worse.   Any moving object within a certain perimeter around the droid would be calculated and a list of 1000 ways to disable the attacker should a threat be activated.

you think they would rely on a "human" looking eye?  hah.   look how ubiquitous cameras are now.  

even if you successfuly tossed a 5 gallon bucket of paint on the thing you would still be toast. 

now a marksman at 200 yards, that's something - but you have to understand that every square inch of the droids territory will be known and under the panopticon's awareness.

as we can see the Hildabeast and her criminal network still walking around shows how few care about anything other than their paycheck.


Implied Violins's picture

Tasers. Anything that can deliver large voltage over distance. Smoke bombs. Spray paint. Cheap drones. Powerful electromagnets. People will find ways; robots aren't programmed for ingenuity.

Eyes Opened's picture

Ya see... my way of thinkin is to git these robocops on our side... don't try to disable them ... HACK them & re-write their "prime-directive" firmware..

" Seek & Destroy your maker ".... works for me....

Azrenegade's picture

No conscience or moral values to prevent robot from slaughering humans at will. What could go wrong?

imbrbing's picture

One super soaker can take out a whole datacenter, why not one of these?

JuliaS's picture

Looking forward to a TED talk where one of these things gets loose and instead of putting on a show, begins snapping necks of everyone around, like Steven Segal.

auricle's picture

Pretty soon they will be playing Motzart better than Motzart. 

SparticusUK's picture

When they can write better music  than Motzart, that'll be the time to worry.


SeuMadruga's picture

That depends on the listener.

Oh, wait: is it a bot too ?!  :-(

HRClinton's picture

I won't worry about riots, until these bots write rap and breakdance better then inner city gangstas with a record label.


general ambivalent's picture

Generic repetition of Hollywood music.

tmosley's picture

I suspect you wouldn't be able to tell which one was composed by a human and which was done by a robot, especially if they were focused on imitating older styles.

Endgame Napoleon's picture

AI has painted Rembrandt reproductions, too. They look like the real thing, although the palette is a little cooler, more bluish than most of his best-known works. They feed information on his entire oeuvre into the program, and it spits out a “typical” Rembrandt. The figures are stiffer and less painterly as well, with hard, linear edges. But it is still accurate enough to be scary. These are not prints. They are paintings.

JuliaS's picture

The time to worry was about 30 years ago. Now's more of a time, to enjoy your last meal, get on your knees and face the wall.

ThePhantom's picture

yes, one thinks ted K was far far ahead of his day,,,,or right on time, as for the rest of us.... we put up no fight at all.

Idaho potato head's picture

At the bare minimum they'll be able to spell his name correctly..

ElTerco's picture

It's been done. In 1988, David Cope wrote software that could compose "original" Mozart scores. Upon hearing pieces from one of Cope’s creations at a concert, “one music lover allegedly told Cope he had ‘killed music’ and tried to punch him”.

Implied Violins's picture

Ah, but they were talking about Motzart.

NOONE replicates Motzart. Ever. Guaranteed.

general ambivalent's picture

Quite a story, but the reproduction is actually quite poor. No one who understands music would consider it on the level of Mozart.

grunk's picture

We had a nice run.

ghengis86's picture

Don't blame me; I voted for Kodos.

Normalcy Bias's picture

I'm sure this technology will be used only to serve the interests of mankind as a whole.


Vigilante's picture

It's for the chillen...lmao

ThePhantom's picture

just like they show it on TV? oh i cant wait!!!

The Greek horse's picture

Elon Musk and Putin think it's a problem we face in the future for humanity. Only people who disagree are the ones building it who have a robotic personality and have no social skills