The Rise and Fall of the Machines


Boston Dynamics employee pushes robot over to see if it will recover.
Boston Dynamics employee pushes robot over to see if it will recover.

The engineers at Boston Dynamics have done it again, and this time with a video that will make you feel sorry for the robots.

The new Atlas humanoid robot is “designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings,” Boston Dynamics wrote in a description of the video posted on YouTube. Weighing in at 180 lbs (82 kg) and standing 5’9″ (1.75 m) tall, its a slimmer version of its 6′, 330 lb (1.83 m, 150 kg) predecessor.  It uses Lidar and stereoscopic sound to avoid obstacles, navigate, and pick up boxes. And better yet, it’s battery powered.

 

Forbes contributor Brid-Aine Parnell explains:

“Perhaps the most important change this time round is the lack of cables and support tethers. This frees Atlas up for all kinds of uses, including search and rescue operations in areas humans can’t enter and basically any outdoor work.”

It’s no wonder the robots eventually revolt. Stop the abuse now! 🙂

Speculative Fiction

Death Has No Shadow - Cover 9 - ThumbWhat will the future be like when we have humanoid robots?  Let’s say that a military accident releases swarms of microscopic robots called forger nanites into the environment.  They make their way towards a research lab, which after hours is run by science intern Kutisha. As three swarms head her way, the military dispatches hover-tanks carrying human sized robotic mechs as disaster relief. Alone, late at night, she places her faith in the mechs, watching the battle between the big and little machines unfold on her doorstep. The question may not be who will win, but who to trust.

Yes, this is a plug for Death Has No Shadow.

Sources:  Forbes, CBS News

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