Robot Apocalypse? Blame People, Not Machines Says Boston Dynamics CEO

Boston Dynamics are behind some of the most interesting robot videos we’ve seen on the Internet, from Big Dog tossing cinder blocks around to, more recently, the reveal of their sharp yellow SpotMini.

And then there’s Atlas, who’s really starting to evoke some, let’s say, Terminator vibes:

But not everyone is on board with their robot creations. Some have raised concerns over the authenticity of Boston Dynamics’ videos, which, according to at least one former employee, only show the robots at their best, and often have engineers or pre-programming guiding them along. That, I’d say, is at least expected for demonstration videos.

Others are far more worried about the future of robotics and what these increasingly intelligent and agile machines will be used for. Will they remain four-legged YouTube curiosities, or will robots like Atlas eventually find themselves used for military applications? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Even so, Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert doesn’t view robotics through that lense. According to his recent statements on the subject, he compares robots to any other machine or tool.

Can they be used to kill? Of course, as can anything. He used the examples of cars, airplanes, and even lasers. “Every technology you can imagine has multiple ways of using it. If there’s a scary part, it’s just that people are scary. I don’t think the robots by themselves are scary,” he said.

So, the robot apocalypse may be inevitable, but can we really blame the robots themselves?

Get Your Own SpotMini, Today!

Well, you’d might as well get ready, because Boston Dynamics aren’t wasting any time: They plan to start manufacturing 1,000 SpotMinis every year beginning in 2019, to be used as security guard robots.

Don’t worry; they just have cameras and optional claw arms. For now.

The SpotMinis, which stand nearly three feet tall and weigh about 55 pounds, will be battery-powered, running for 90 minutes before needing charged again. They’re even testing functionality that could allow the robots to recharge themselves, or even use other robots for assistance.

As for buying a SpotMini, you won’t actually be able to just walk into a store and buy one off the shelf. They’re made to order, and the price is not yet available. I don’t imagine they’ll be cheap.


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.