Apocalypse Now

This new robot can do backflips and is probably mankind’s reckoning

November 17, 2017
Atlas robot

Terminator. Robocop. Alien. Ex Machina. Brave Little Toaster. Humanity’s folklore is littered with warnings and prophecies—cautionary tales about the danger of fusing artificial intelligence to steel frames. They all end the same way too, huddled in a sewer beneath some bombed-out street in mankind’s other favorite future yarn, the Dystopian Aftermath (see: The Road, Escape From New York, Mad Max, et al.).

The problem, as most of these stories portray it, is usually a bunch of corporate scientists paid to ask “how?” but never “should?”, which is where we pick up the plot this morning, November 16, 2017 CE, The Day After the Beginning of the End (working title). You see, on Thursday evening, Boston Dynamics—the robotics company responsible for just about every apocalypse machine you see plastered all over Facebook—unveiled their craziest creation yet. “His” name is Atlas and “he” can do backflips:

Needless to say, Atlas, at least in the parkour department, can already do a bunch of stuff you can’t, including leaping obstacle to obstacle without slipping, smacking his shin, and spending the rest of the day pouting on the couch while his robot wife rolls her eyes and brings him an ice pack. Now it only seems like a matter of time until ol’ Atlas here trades said wife for yours, gets elected President (ANYBODY CAN DO IT NOW!), and turns humanity into a giant Duracell farm (y’all have seen The Matrix, right?). But look on the brightside, flesh batteries: At least we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

H/T Wired.

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