Pro tip: if something looks like it might be a man in a robot suit, it’s probably a man in a robot suit
We’ve all seen plenty of embarrassing nonsense on TV, from that BBC reporter who fell into a pool on a live broadcast to that infamous Robert Kelly interview.
However, none of us – as far as we can tell – have mistaken an actual human for a robot. There’s still time, sure, and I’m not saying we’re not stupid enough to do it, but it hasn’t happened yet.
The same can’t be said for journalists at Russian broadcaster Russia-24, though, who abandoned reason to talk themselves into believing there was a robot who danced like a man rather than, y’know, a man who danced like a robot who danced like a man.
We know that, in many ways, the majority of Russians are a hell of a lot smarter than us. After all, how else have they managed to (allegedly) control elections, make the quarter-finals of a World Cup and manage the response to The Last Jedi?
Telling the difference between man and machine, though? That’s a different matter.
As reported by The Guardian, Russia-24’s report included the proud assertion that “Robot Boris has already learned to dance and he’s not that bad”.
The only problem? A lot of people could see the neck of a human man inside the ‘robot’.
People have been having fun with it, as you’d expect, with one or two noticing the odd similarity with TV sketches.
The robot Boris was presented at a youth forum entitled ‘Future Intellectual Leaders of Russia’, TJournal reports, and the publication mentions a number of queries.
Among the red flags was the matter of “How Russian scientists [finished the] robot so quickly, without publishing any intermediate results?,” and the more on-the-nose “Why does the robot look as if a man would fit perfectly inside it?”
Perhaps if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck then we should assume it’s a dude in a robot suit.