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:
we dead pic.twitter.com/lUys7DptdZ— alex medina (@mrmedina) November 16, 2017
The robots are evolving into crossfit bros https://t.co/SOO9bvuoHU— Turkducklephant (@despoondent) November 17, 2017
Though apparently there are still some mundane tasks that Atlas has not yet mastered...
Don't worry too much about your jobs if you saw that robot doing a backflip - this is the same lad trying to stack a shelf pic.twitter.com/L8vkn91UBD— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) November 17, 2017
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.