• Emily333

    I just want one to come to my house and clean the bathrooms and vacuum. But then it should definitely go away.

  • muselet

    I’m not sure about creepy, but it’s disconcerting as hell. Atlas approaches a sort of behavioral Uncanny Valley in that video (watch how it balances itself).

    If someone at Boston Dynamics gets funny and has it say, “Exterminate!” in a flat, tinny voice, then it’ll be creepy (and yes, I know it doesn’t look anything like a Dalek).


    • I think it’s damn sure shudder worthy!

      Do they have to make them look so menacing?!


      • Christopher Foxx

        I must be missing something. I don’t see any menacing aspect at all. It’s a somewhat human shaped machine. Somewhat in that it has torso, limbs and maybe head (not clear if that’s really separate from torso), but no moreso than a lot of other objects.

        I’m honestly curious. Is there something inherently menacing, or is it the popular robot = terminator stories that predisposes folks to see humanoid machines as scary? What, to you, is menacing about it and what would make it less so?

      • muselet

        Atlas is just close enough to human in appearance that the exoskeleton-like design is jarring, and its movements are very human. I think that is what you’re reacting to.

        Plus, matt black makes almost anything look intimidating.


        • Agreed……….why must they make it seem so much like a human?

          I’d hate to meet up with the thing in a dark alley!

          • muselet

            Boston Dynamics is modeling human-like bipedal locomotion, so Atlas has to have human proportions. If BD were modeling penguin-like bipedal locomotion, Atlas would be shaped more like Opus (or Monty the Penguin).

            And if you did meet Atlas in a dark alley, it would be surrounded by a batallion of engineers and technicians. Pasty guys with laptops make pretty much everything less scary.


          • 🙂

          • Scopedog

            God made Man in His own image, so now Man makes machines (or his replacement? ) in his own image.

            It’s a common trope in SF, but it was used very well in the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reboot.

            The thing is, the closer a machine gets to looking human, the more fearful we become of it.

          • The thing is, the closer a machine gets to looking human, the more fearful we become of it.


            Do you think it’s because so many once human functions are now being done by machines? Or because we fear machines taking over?

          • Scopedog

            It’s most likely both, Nicole.

            There was a very good SF novel from the late 70’s–Jim Hogan’s THE TWO FACES OF TOMORROW–where one of the characters states that with AI and advanced robotics, humanity was essentially building its successor. Of course, this statement brought about an angry response by another character who argued that scientists were essentially carrying this out but never stopped to ask if the rest of the human population wanted this.

          • Yeah, I have to agree, Scopedog.

            I read an article recently that discussed the issue of man replacing himself with unconscious intelligence. A quote from the article: “ As the 21st century unfolds, humans are in danger of losing their value, because intelligence is decoupling from consciousness.” [link below] Scary stuff.


    • Christopher Foxx

      watch how it balances itself

      I’d like a closer view to see if, during the times it seems motionless, if it’s actually making a lot of constant small adjustments like a person does. Or does it truly manage to find a perfect balance point and, being able to be more motionless than a human (we do tend to wiggle) does it find a truly stable balance point.

      And how’d it get up on those cinderblocks in the first place?

      I just find the whole thing interesting and not at all creepy.

      • muselet

        If you watch the video full-screen, you can see it adjusting its balance. It’s more stable than the average human, but not by as much as you might think.


  • Christopher Foxx

    It’s only a matter of time until it crashes through your windows and puts you in shackles.

    You’re joking, of course. But I could see a Republican saying the exact same thing and being absolutely serious about it.

    “ISIS is sneaking robots across the border to come to your house, put you in shakles, and confiscate yer guns! Boo!”

  • Nefercat

    “Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google in December of last year.”

    Why?! I guess I better make sure I use Google products.