HolidayBuyer's Guide

How Google's impressive new robot demo will fuel your nightmares

Google-owned Boston Dynamics is showing how its latest Atlas robot can hold up to some pretty harsh testing, making us wonder if its creators have ever watched any sci-fi at all.

Google-owned Boston Dynamics on Tuesday released a video of its next-generation Atlas humanoid robot that's more than just a demonstration of a remarkably resilient, agile and adaptable robot. It's also a perfect bit of propaganda for a future robot uprising that's suddenly feeling a little more imminent.

In the video, the robot opens doors, keeps its balance while breaking through a crust of deep snow and puts 10-pound (4.5 kilogram) boxes on shelves. This is all fine and good, but 90 seconds into the video, the robot's human makers start abusing it with a hockey stick and shoving it in the back so it falls flat on its face.

Of course, this is all meant to show how easily the Atlas can adapt and recover from such obstacles in the real world. And if the recent grim end to a real-world road trip undertaken by a hitchhiking robot has taught us anything, it's that robots in the 21st century better be able to watch their own backs.

Maybe I've just watched a little too much sci-fi (I definitely have), but if there ever is a robot rebellion, surely this video will be used to indict the human race by demonstrating how we acted like jerks toward the artificial underclass from the very beginning.

I'm totally going to have nightmares about the crazy ninja move the Atlas does to push itself back upright after being shoved on its face.

To make the video all the more ominous, it ends with the Atlas opening the door on its own and walking outside to go, I don't know, buy a Blu-ray copy of "Ex Machina" or hit the Google offices and download all of humanity's emails or who knows what.

Elon Musk once warned that Skynet could only be a few years off, and Google is looking increasingly like Skynet. But in the meantime...cool robot, guys! Maybe you could at least give it a hug after the next time you shove it to the ground?

Close
Drag