Tech

There’s a new robot that can backflip and seriously we’re all totally doomed

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Dave Fawbert
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Atlas backflip robot

Given the amount of column inches dedicated daily to wailing about the inevitable demise of humanity if we continue along this self-destructive path of unchecked technological progress, you’d have thought all those scientific minds out there would at least have paused to consider whether what they’re doing is, ultimately, going to lead to our own, self-inflicted demise.

But no. It doesn’t seem that that’s the case. Especially given this terrifying new view of the future.

I’m sure you’ve all seen one of the robots from Boston Dynamics doing the rounds on the internet at some point - you know, like Spot the ‘dog’ (yeah, we’re not fooled by the cute name, this thing will kill us all given half the chance):

But at least that one’s a dog. We know how to deal with them. Throw a ball in the opposite direction from which you’re running and it’ll probably all be fine.

No, the one we need to worry about is their human-like robot ‘Atlas’. And they’ve really taken it way too far on the evidence of this latest video:

Seriously? What the jeff are you thinking Boston Dynamics? Why have you made this? This thing could, if it decided to, easily, easily kill you and all of the rest of us. It wouldn’t even break a sweat (well, mainly because robots don’t sweat, but also it - and this is what I’m really reaching for here - wouldn’t need to try very hard to do so).

This looks like something out of the movies. And not Love Actually.

As Wired puts it: “Humanoids aren’t supposed to be able to do this. It’s extremely difficult to make a bipedal robot that can move effectively, much less kick off a tumbling routine. The beauty of four-legged robots is that they balance easily, both at rest and as they’re moving, but bipeds like Atlas have to balance a bulky upper body on just two legs.”

Also, as Wired nonchalantly comments: “Over the years, it’s grown not only more backflippy but lighter and more dextrous and less prone to fall on its face. Even if it does tumble, it can now get back up on its own.”

WHAT? When did this happen? It can get back up on its own?

Now, Wired being Wired, it then describes how having humanoid robots could be very useful, since they’re better suited to help out in ‘human’ situations but sorry guys, we’re not buying it. That makes it easier for them to kill in human situations.

Please, please stop building these things. Please.

Cool though, isn’t it?

(Image: Boston Dynamics)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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