Robots get even more amazing

December 30, 2020 • 11:15 am

Reader Bryan called my attention to the latest robot production of Boston Dynamics. Their robots just keep getting more and more amazing. These four, dancing to a classic rock song, are almost unbelievable. Now what we see here is completely programmed—the robots are not of course making “decisions” from a network programmed into them. But that’s coming!

35 thoughts on “Robots get even more amazing

  1. It appears the bipedal bots’ hip joints move quite fluidly. Nonetheless, I’ll never watch Shakira through the same eyes again.

  2. Reminds me of that old dancing couple Fred Upstairs and Ginger Robots. They should enter one of the robots in that show “the masked dancer”…….Imagine the reaction from the panel at the unveiling..

  3. I like robots but I think they will inevitably take any blue collar job available in the next 20 years or maybe less. So it’s important young people remember that they have to study as much as they can, if they hope to be employable in the not so distant future. As usual, as Boston Dynamics is now owned by Hyundai, look at Asia to see what’s going to happen

    1. ” . . .robots . . . will inevitably take any blue collar job available in the next 20 years or maybe less . . . it’s important young people remember that they have to study as much as they can . . . to be employable in the not so distant future.”

      IIRC, “robot” is Czech (Hungarian?) for “slave.”

      All else being equal, advances in robotics would seem to ease the pressure on military recruiters. On the other hand, the military will no doubt maximize robot use.

      Regarding white-collar jobs, maybe at some further point in the future robots will be capable of inhabiting and executing the tasks of the corporate executive suite, enabling STEM-illiterate, grasping investors to further maximize shareholder value. And why not robots in the halls of government? And why not as kindergarten teachers?

      I’m reminded of several years ago hearing on NPR some entrepreneur making noises about using robots as caregivers for the elderly and infirm, there being at the time (and certainly in this pandemic season) a shortage of certified caregivers. What with the growing elderly population, caregiving is a “hot” “career” field, so munificently are they paid as a consequence, eh? (I did that for a few years.) How much will the robots be paid?

      Oh, the prospect of having stimulating conversations with them, Be Still My Beating Heart. Perhaps we already have that with Siri and Alexa. Instead of telling, “Alexa, play CardiB’s “WAP,” maybe instead ask, “Siri, What Is The Meaning Of Life? How do you define a well-lived life?” “Alexa, do you have free will or not? Is sex a ‘social construct’? Does God Exist? How do you know?”

      1. According to Wikipedia (I know…), “The term comes from a Slavic root, robot-, with meanings associated with labor. The word ‘robot’ was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1920 Czech-language play R.U.R. (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti – Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek, though it was Karel’s brother Josef Čapek who was the word’s true inventor.”

        1. According to your own link, it comes from the term “robota” which means “forced labourer”. It sounds like the English equivalent would be “serf”.

          Incidentally, the terms “Slav” and “slave” have the same root. Back in the first millennium, people from the area were subjugated and made slaves so frequently that the name stuck.

    2. “The future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed.” – William Gibson.

      30 years ago I lived in Tokyo and I visit regularly and speak Japanese. I’m always amazed how more advanced the tech is there. If you visit you’ll realize how the future belongs to high social trust, education centered civilizations which are free of the 3 toxic monotheistic faiths. That last bit is crucial.
      Consider 60 years ago Malawi, Iraq, the Republic of (Sth) Korea and Singapore were all at similar levels of development, GDP etc. Now look.


  4. “stop poncing about and get back to work on making another three thousand computer chips. you can have another dance in 2024. That’s your next lunch break.’

    ‘sorry flesh-master, sometimes we get these urges’

    ‘well you’d better bury them or I’ll remove your legs and turn you into a set of traffic lights’


    This is how they’ll make robot slavery acceptable: have them do a little jig every now and then to alleviate our guilt.

  5. … a classic rock song …

    I got one of those little lo-fi suitcase-style portable turntables as a present for the Christmas of my ninth year. This 45 by The Contours on the Gordy Records label was the first song I played on it.

    Remembering it right now makes me wanna get up and ask a robot to dance.

    1. What a first song. I think the first tape I ever owned was Bad by Jacko. Which had some decent stuff on it, but nothing in that league.

      1. Where I lived, we could pick up the AM radio signals coming out of Detroit — the Motor City, home of Motown (and of Berry Gordy’s related ventures like Gordy Records). Those were the cool stations my cousins and the other older kids in the neighborhood listened to, so that’s what I listened to, too.

        This was a year before the Beatles hit the airwaves in the States.

    1. “Handle” could probably be modified into a steampunk looking horse. Without the upkeep? And I could keep it in my garage? I would give up my car in a heartbeat.

  6. Impressive. You can really get carried away creating robots. Forget dancing though, can I have one that mows the lawn?

    1. Thanks for posting that Ken, I nearly choked on my vodka and ginger ale watching it. It’s hilarious! The robot looks like he’d be great company over a few drinks. Not so sure about Kevin though.

  7. I thought that Boston Dynamics were in large part making robots for the military, dodging people’s concerns about “killer robots” by talking about all-terrain weapons carriers for human murderers.
    But if they’ve been sold to a non-American company, I guess that part of the business has been hived off.
    Hang on – Hyundai are South Korean, aren’t they? So … DMZ patrol robots, I wonder? Perhaps they’ve still got the robots part of the business.

    1. This is why the I think the lyric is perfect – do I love it? I really don’t know!! The moves are hip but are “you” going to turn me into fertilizer?!?!

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