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AlphaDog Raises Bar for Creepy Walking Robots

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LongTomH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 03:20 PM
Original message
AlphaDog Raises Bar for Creepy Walking Robots
Edited on Fri Nov-11-11 03:25 PM by LongTomH
We've had some recent posts about robots and the way some people find them, well, creepy! The Utopianist blog has a link to a video of Boston Dynamics AlphaDog robot with commentary:

Remember BigDog, the creepy robot developed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA that could walk over all kinds of terrain, including icy roads and rocky hills? Well, theyve outdone themselves this time with AlphaDog, a much bigger version of the robot that, according to PopSci, can carry 400 lbs of gear for 20 miles without needing to be refueled. This model is much quieter than the first one, in that it doesnt sound like a walking beehive.

Creepy highlights of the video:
  • Watching AlphaDog run full speed, presumably to catch its human prey
  • When the robot is shoved over and quickly restores its balance
  • The fact that its so massive that it takes two people to push it as hard as they can to topple it
  • Watching it slowly get up from its side like a housecat


Spare me, oh metallic ones, for your new paradise will need snarky bloggers to spread news of your accomplishments.


Final creepy thought: I wonder if the guys who pushed the robot over (just to test it, you know!) have nightmares about the robot remembering its indignities and seeking revenge? That buzzing sound outside the window, could it be................?

Edited to add: Here's a link to the Guardian UK article about The Uncanny Valley, where something that looks human (or animal-like) becomes too real and starts to creep us out.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm still far more disturbed by "PETMAN."
The humanoid (albeit, headless) version of this. When they attach hands to that thing, it could get really creepy.
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enuegii Donating Member (624 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Hands, hell-- wait till they trick it out with the probes.
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saras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 03:53 PM
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3. No more or less creepy than an AK-47
It's the motivations of the people telling it what to do that are, or are not, creepy.
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BadgerKid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 04:54 PM
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4. This could lead to great advances...or great harm. n/t
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. Am I the only one who felt a little bad for the poor thing when they were kicking it?
Maybe social robotics has progressed farther than is commonly known...
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LongTomH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That's why I made that quip about the robot coming back for revenge.
As for mistreatment of robots in general, I remember a Twilight Zone episode with a couple of creepy yuppies abusing their robot maid. Robots may become still another target for human sadism.
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