Exactly a year ago, Boston Dynamics released a video of one of its employees kicking a robot dog to show the world how sturdy the four-legged bot was. The short clip spurred controversy over whether it is ethical to show cruelty to a robot that looks and moves like a real dog.
This year, things were brought to a whole new level, with another Boston Dynamics employee teasing and kicking a humanoid robot to the ground. The robot dubbed Atlas is a bot developed by Boston Dynamics, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc.
Both cases of cruelty to robots were caught on camera and posted online. And both videos stirred concerns about a Robot Rising being on its way. Yet, the latest video is by far the most concerning.
The defenseless-looking Atlas robot had to finish a treacherous walk through a snow-covered area on its way to what it looked a warehouse where he was supposed to lift and organize 10lbs boxes on shelves. So, this looked just like an ordinary day at work for a human.
But, out of the blue a bearded human, who was probably upset because Atlas snatched his job and the jobs of several generations to come, shows up and starts abusing the poor bot.
Initially, the man prevents Atlas from doing his job at the warehouse by moving around one of the 10 lbs-labeled boxes, the robot was desperately trying to grab, with a hockey stick.
Next, things get even nastier when the human kicks the robot in the back with an unidentified cardboard tube. We weren’t able to identify a smirk of satisfaction on the man’s heavily bearded face, but we assume that he internally felt joy for being able to kick the bot that will soon replace him at work.
You can watch the whole incident here:
The video, which was released Tuesday, shows a revamped Atlas, which is a humanoid bot that has been roaming Boston Dynamics labs for several years now. The machine has now several new features including hydraulic joints that helped it to maintain stability on snow and quickly leap off of the ground.
Plus, the humanoid is now tinier (5 feet, 9 inches) and more agile than previous versions since it is equipped with enhanced sensors and a laser-range finder that helps it better detect surrounding objects.
Moreover, Atlas is now fully autonomous because it relies on batteries so it doesn’t need to be tethered to a power source when it moves around.
Image Source: Flickr