Imagine enjoying the purity of nature, strolling down your favorite hiking path, only to be confronted by a running robot. Boston Dynamics shared a rather horrifying video a few days ago, which demonstrates the mind blowing capabilities of its Atlas robot. I never thought I’d say this, but Arnold’s T-800 is just around the corner. No, catch that—it’s literally running on the same quaint path at your favorite state park.
Our robot overlords aren’t quite here just yet—a power tether is still necessary to function. But Boston Dynamics says it’s already working on a version that doesn’t require the tether, in which case: your worst Chappie nightmare is going to be here before you know it.
The video shows Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics, talking about his company’s recent progress with Atlas, and how it’s capable of navigating unstable terrain and balancing on one foot. “Sometimes we kick the robot,” he says. OK then. Raibert then says that Atlas’s mobility will soon be on a par with a human’s. My only question for Raibert is: did he not see Age of Ultron?
The progress Boston Dynamics has made in such a short period of time is absolutely astounding. You’re probably very familiar with the company’s quadruped robot, Spot, which is a charming and impressive machine. But imagine that cuteness being replaced by the horror of a Franken-robot; what if Spot had a “manipulator” instead of a face, giving it the ability to open doors? Yeah, not so cute now, is it?
Raibert said that he ultimately wants to get Atlas “out into the world,” which will certainly be a remarkable achievement. But let’s hope it’s more like Johnny 5, and less like T-800.