It may look like this robot dog is attempting to escape and carry out whatever other carnage he was programmed to inflict.
But it’s only a test by Boston Dynamics, the company developing these creatures for wartime and other uses.
The robot dog has been directed to open the door and leave the room. The technician has been assigned to pose an obstacle, using a hockey stick. The resulting struggle — in which the technician ends up grabbing the metal beast’s tail/handle, and breaking a piece of it off — is shown in this newly released video.
Boston Dynamics describes the video as a test of the dog’s (named SpotMini) “ability to adjust to disturbances as it opens and walks through a door” because “the ability to tolerate and respond to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot.”
In other words, they want to be sure the dogs will complete their assigned mission at all costs.
It’s that “at all costs” part that gets a little scary. When you program a robot to “do this and don’t let anything get in the way,” you want to be sure that you, and other living breathing humans, aren’t in the way.
In this case, the robot succeeds in getting out the door. Boston Dynamics assured watchers that “this testing does not irritate or harm the robot.”
The company, owned by Google at the time, took a little heat three years ago when it released a video that showed a technician kicking a robot dog. Even back then, they assured watchers, “No robot dogs were harmed in the making of this video.”
Last year the company was sold to SoftBank.