Can You Do A Backflip? Because This Robot Can

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.



merizobeach ghengis86 Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:40 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by ghengis86

LetThemEatRand merizobeach Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:13 Permalink

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.

In reply to by merizobeach

Endgame Napoleon ghengis86 Sat, 11/18/2017 - 23:02 Permalink

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.

In reply to by ghengis86

SixIsNinE yogibear Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:16 Permalink

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

In reply to by yogibear

Endgame Napoleon tmosley Sat, 11/18/2017 - 23:12 Permalink

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.

In reply to by tmosley

The Greek horse Fri, 11/17/2017 - 21:18 Permalink

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