Google's humanoid robot walking in the woods is terribly creepy

Technically Incorrect: Google-owned Boston Dynamics presents the latest stage in scaring you out of your wits. It's as if the "Blair Witch Project" and a hundred other horror movies had come to life.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

There it goes, in search of victims. Michael Campbell/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I've come to terms with the idea that man's greatest quest is not to be man anymore.

Some of the world's sharpest minds are dedicating themselves to making robots in their own image. With the hope that these robots will, one day, be the we that we've always failed to be.

Whenever, though, I look at one of these new beings, they've made advances that feel slightly disturbing.

The latest presentation from Google-owned Boston Dynamics begins with a robotic minidinosaur opening a door.

But it's the humanoid robots that begin to make one fear that the prawns from the movie "District 9" were mere pets compared with what our scientists might think up.

Balance and dynamics are the two main thrusts of humanoid robot development. But when Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert shows the six-foot-tall Atlas humanoid robot marauding through the woods, you wonder about the juxtaposition between future and nature.

This robot looks like one of those people/things that want to stab characters in movies. If he/she/it suddenly produced a chainsaw, I wouldn't be surprised.

The machine walks a little like a drunk who's just had double ACL surgery. But it does so insistently. This is one of those beings that doesn't want to be stopped.

When it breaks into a trot, you get the sense that it has spotted someone it needs to assault and will continue to advance until its preprogrammed task is complete. A tree would be safer from it than a human.

It's not hard to conceive that we might be looking at the future boots on the ground, as the saying goes. This would make for a fearsome soldier.

Raibert admits Atlas isn't quite human yet. However, he said: "You can imagine if we keep pushing, we'll get there."

I think I can imagine, yes. I imagine that this Atlas isn't so fond of shrugging as he is of relentlessly pursuing.