You can control an armed Spot robot online, and Boston Dynamics is not happy

This is simultaneously cute and terrifying.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read
Boston Dynamics Spot

Spot, armed with a paintball gun.

MSCHF Product Studio / Screenshot by CNET

Boston Dynamics' lineup of robots have been taking turns wowing us with their stunts and fueling our nightmares (thanks in no small part to that Black Mirror episode). Now an artsy startup has finally gone ahead and combined the light and dark sides of the company's robotic dog, Spot, into a chaotic online event.

Starting at 10 a.m. PT Wednesday, random visitors to a website will be able to control a Spot robot equipped with a paintball gun as it ransacks an art gallery set up for the purpose.


Boston Dynamics doesn't consider this good clean fun.

MSCHF Product Studio / Screenshot by CNET

Spot's Rampage is the latest effort from MSCHF Product Studio, which is the same outfit that re-created episodes of The Office entirely in Slack and sells a cap for your Alexa device that jams its microphone.

To participate, you'll need to download the MSCHF App and visit the Spot's Rampage website where the chaos will be livestreamed. Every two minutes, control of Spot via the app will be passed to a random viewer on the website.

Based on a reading of the MSCHF's manifesto on the site, the whole stunt seems to be, at least in part, about acting out some of those robot-based nightmares we all have.

"Spot is an empathy missile, shaped like man's best friend and targeted straight at our fight or flight instinct. When killer robots come to America they will be wrapped in fur, carrying a ball... Everyone in this world takes one look at cute little Spot and knows: this thing will definitely be used by police and the military to murder people," MSCHF states.

MSCHF said it spoke with Boston Dynamics about the project and that Spot's makers hated the idea. Boston Dynamics recently confirmed that sentiment on Twitter, writing:

"We condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm or intimidation... Provocative art can help push useful dialogue about the role of technology in our daily lives. This art, however, fundamentally misrepresents Spot and how it is being used to benefit our daily lives."

You can see for yourself what the role of Spot is when it's at the center of viral content not created by its creators.

The paint will fly online at Spotsrampage.com.