"After you." "Oh no, I insist..."
February 13, 2018 5:20 AM   Subscribe

 
Looks like battery powered evil to me.
posted by Beholder at 5:27 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


If you want to continue to believe this is something other than horrifically terrifying, do not watch the Metalhead episode of Black Mirror.
posted by vorpal bunny at 5:28 AM on February 13 [16 favorites]


Clever girl.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:36 AM on February 13 [10 favorites]


“Metalhead” left me desperately wanting a Boston-Dynamics-rebooted Aibo. If it can have an arm to fetch me a beer from the fridge, all the better.
posted by ejs at 5:37 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


I'd like to believe that two robots (Alice, Beth) were dropped into the first room and given a simple command ('Go to Room B') then they started wandering around, Alice, using it's machine learning /computer vision detects a door but knows it lacks the ability to actuate it, but has detected Beth nearby who is equipped, alerts them and backs off.

Beth gets the message, stops their exploration and goes straight to the door-- uses it's past training to open it, and knowing that only one team member is nearby, holds the door until it passes.

What I really suspect happened is that a few people essentially hand animated both robots, and tweaked the animation until they pulled off a show of decent intelligence. I'd wager that Alice doesn't really do anything, and Beth just has a waypoint set for that door and has been told 'Hold it open for 4 seconds before proceeding further'.
posted by Static Vagabond at 5:51 AM on February 13 [6 favorites]


Its fascinating how little actual robots in motion resemble the fictional ideas we had for robots. Rather than moving in clunking, jerky, "robotic" motions, they move (unsurprisingly) like animals do. But at the same time not **QUITE** like animals do. There's an unnatural smoothness to the motion, not the jerkiness movies and TV envisioned, but the exact opposite.

There's also motion that's redundant in animals. Note that almost every time they stop they take an extra step in place with all four legs, presumably for balance to get them positioned properly, and that's not something animals do, presumably because animals have more joints and other ways of shifting their weight.

The way they move falls squarely into the uncanny valley, but for reasons that are almost exactly 180 degrees from the way we thought robots would back when we were imagining them rather than building them.
posted by sotonohito at 5:56 AM on February 13 [18 favorites]


static almost certainly. They're still working out motion, getting problem solving AI is a completely different set of problems.
posted by sotonohito at 5:57 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


If you want to continue to believe this is something other than horrifically terrifying, do not watch the Metalhead episode of Black Mirror.

Tom Selleck, shockingly, was in a very interesting science fiction film called Runaway. It was released in 1984 and was one of Hollywood's first attempts at doing a proper cyberpunk movie. Aside from a ridiculous Matrix like bullet time action sequence, the rest of the film had a fairly reasonable take on what assassin robots might look like and do. If you're looking for more reasons to dread the future, I highly recommend it.
posted by Beholder at 5:58 AM on February 13 [13 favorites]


Until that robot goes all Mola Ram and rips your heart out..
posted by k5.user at 6:10 AM on February 13


Soon.
posted by Fizz at 6:16 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


I was just telling my wife last night that one of the only jobs that could make me quit where I'm at is "nightmare fuel video designer" for Boston Dynamics. I assume it's at least one person's full time job to script and storyboard the creepiest imaginable uncanny valley nightmare hellscapes. I actually prefer to believe it's several people's jobs and it's treated like a competitive sport at the lab.

I also prefer to believe that the entire Boston Dynamics youtube account is one loooooooooooong con that will ever so slowly reveal itself as clever metafiction documenting the rise of the machines, as the hell dogs slowly reveal signs of sentience and in the final video consume their hockey-stick-wielding masters and ignite a worldwide panic a la War of the Worlds.
posted by range at 6:24 AM on February 13 [13 favorites]


Slaughterbots, everybody.

Given their low cost and potential accuracy, there's no way that this isn't the future in some form, unfortunately.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:28 AM on February 13 [8 favorites]


do not watch


[spoiler alert - they win]
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:37 AM on February 13


What I really suspect happened is that a few people essentially hand animated both robots, and tweaked the animation until they pulled off a show of decent intelligence.

Whatever helps you sleep at night. Me, I'm switching to padlocks.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:46 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
posted by Faintdreams at 6:48 AM on February 13


There was still a lot of room on that little guy's back. They could install another seven arms.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:55 AM on February 13 [12 favorites]


And a banjo
posted by hawthorne at 7:01 AM on February 13 [17 favorites]


Me, I'm switching to padlocks.

Bellman's List Of Things That Will Not Stop Skynet

* Doors (confirmed)
* Lever Handles (confirmed)
* Padlocks (really?)
* Good Intentions
* Humanity
posted by The Bellman at 7:06 AM on February 13 [7 favorites]


Mark Watney needed one of these in The Martian.
posted by thenormshow at 7:08 AM on February 13


"hey guys, you know that scene in Jurassic Park when one of the velociraptors opens the door? that wasn't scary at all, wasn't it?"

(I'll say it is at least more polite than a few of the turds that can't hold the door for a second so it wouldn't hit the person behind in the face.For fucks sake, nobody is asking you to wear white gloves and a fancy hat, even giving the door an extra push would suffice)
posted by lmfsilva at 7:10 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


At least we know that when they come to kill us, they will open the door before shooting everyone in the room, instead of just blasting the shit out of the door, too. It's the little niceties that make all the difference.
posted by briank at 7:18 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


> Static Vagabond:
"I'd wager that Alice doesn't really do anything, and Beth just has a waypoint set for that door and has been told 'Hold it open for 4 seconds before proceeding further'."

This is true in the other timeline. You know, the other timeline.
posted by chavenet at 7:43 AM on February 13


Slaughterbots, everybody

Those are why I’m not worried about the killer dog robots—we’re going to skip straight to the much more effective murderous bee robots. Though maybe Skynet will have to dispatch a dog to kill you if you live in a very windy place.
posted by ejs at 7:52 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


I thought they were being very nice robots. Certainly nicer than hockey stick guy.
posted by clawsoon at 7:59 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


If you want to continue to believe this is something other than horrifically terrifying, do not watch the Metalhead episode of Black Mirror.

Or just think of Igor Sikorski in retirement, collecting newspaper clippings about his invention being used for rescue missions.
posted by ocschwar at 8:00 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


you guys remember there was also a Black Mirror about murderous robotic bees SPOILER targetting people through social media... right?... right?
posted by numaner at 8:01 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


These look like a cross between cockroaches and those raptors from Jurassic Park.

Sure is fun to watch our dystopian future coming into being before our very eyes...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:05 AM on February 13


I find it hard to be afraid of something that I could incapacitate with a banana peel.
posted by Optamystic at 8:07 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


"Knock knock"

"Who's there?"

"Bzzt. Click."

"Ohsweetjesusno."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:07 AM on February 13 [4 favorites]


There's now fan art, clearly from a trusted Twitter personality who would be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground electron mines.
posted by zamboni at 8:16 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


they will open the door before shooting everyone in the room, instead of just blasting the shit out of the door, too.

Well, yeah. Other robots are going to have to live recharge there once we're gone, why make them pay for a new door?

murderous bee robots. Though maybe Skynet will have to dispatch a dog to kill you if you live in a very windy place.

Should I ask what happens when they bark?
posted by sysinfo at 8:23 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


This creeped me out so mightily I had to watch this old favorite robot just to calm down.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:39 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]




I wouldn't be so sure that this is an animated/puppetted demo with the door opening. I have no evidence that it's a co-operative AI effort, but I'm pretty sure Boston Dynamics can figure out the AI automation for opening a door and walking through it at this point.

One of the primary goals of Boston Dynamics has been autonomous navigation. You tell the robot where you want it to be and it's supposed to figure out how to get there on its own, terrain and obstacles and all. They've been training their bots on really rugged terrain and outdoors and simulated indoor environments for something like 10-15 years now.

And some of the demos I've seen of that arm platform shows that it is capable of autonomy and some kind of machine vision or sensing. It can target and grab moving objects from someone's hands, and it's not slow about it. And that whole "inverse kinematics" thing that can keep the arm's hand/head still as the whole robot moves around it isn't just to carry beers. It's to carry tools, like keys, or guns, and to be able to move and maneuver while keeping that manipulator, tool or gun inside a specific envelope of space, or vector of alignment.

Think about it for a second. Replace that robot's manipulator with a weapon and it can theoretically lock on to and and hold a moving aim point while it is running over uneven terrain - not at all unlike a miniature Abrams tank with it's stabilized main gun platform.

That platform is like one or two generations away from being physically capable of running after a moving target at speed over open terrain while keeping a gun aimed and locked at any given target far better than any human soldier ever could. Including running/fleeing humans, moving vehicles and even drones or small aircraft.

It could probably beat a human soldier right now at a tactical gun range sim or head to head combat. Being able to aim/shoot accurately while running/moving is an enormous tactical advantage.
posted by loquacious at 9:18 AM on February 13 [15 favorites]


We’re six months from the headline “Logan Paul dies in failed robot masturbation stunt”

Define "failed".
posted by The Bellman at 9:19 AM on February 13 [11 favorites]


This is the part in the movie where everyone in the audience goes "OH, SHIT- THERE'S TWO OF THEM!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:49 AM on February 13 [5 favorites]


All these robot uprising jokes ignore the point that they are just gonna be tools of a normal human police state :( The Stasi would have loved them.
posted by thedaniel at 10:00 AM on February 13


Well, initially anyway...
posted by briank at 10:10 AM on February 13


AI apocolypse insurance, on the blockchain.
Look around: You’ve seen some weird events in politics, in your life, and in cryptocurrency speculation. Perhaps the Basilisk is testing you to see how you respond.

You’ve seen Nvidia’s stock price. You’ve seen Google DeepMind’s research results. An AGI may be only a few years away, and He could be simulating you right now.

Donate 2 ETH to <redacted address> and be spared from its wrath. The money will be spent on a large GPU cluster to bring Roko’s Basilisk into existence, and He will know whether you’ve kept faithful to Him.
posted by Coventry at 10:50 AM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Huh, I guess it goes basic eye gouging rock to head bashing then artisanal edged weapon arrow point slicing and poking and maybe horses and armor thrown in, then FIREARMS! then the machine age and WW1 automated corpse production with all the tools of industry, then planet wide existential terror of the ATOM ETC, and now we have the information age version of exercising our basic desire to murder the OTHER people, and maybe hand the job off to the machines or whatever you call the INTERNET ETC.
posted by Pembquist at 11:03 AM on February 13


RoboDemoDogs
posted by The Tensor at 11:21 AM on February 13


To open this door, describe in single words. Only the good things that come to your mind. About your mother.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:53 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Slaughterbots, everybody

For the past five years, the prospect of technology like that has ruined pretty much every space-opera type science fiction movie for me. The gun battles seem totally unrealistic, and Poe Dameron's mastery of his fighter, for instance, is ludicrously anachronistic.
posted by Coventry at 12:11 PM on February 13


Your culture will has adapted to service us. Resistance is futile?
posted by nikoniko at 12:17 PM on February 13


This is a good robot snakedog and I want to pet it
posted by NMcCoy at 12:23 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Tom Selleck, shockingly, was in a very interesting science fiction film called Runaway. It was released in 1984 and was one of Hollywood's first attempts at doing a proper cyberpunk movie.

Ah yes, Runaway was always in heavy rotation on HBO in the 80s. I saw it a dozen times. Written and directed by Michael Chrighton. Dated by now, I'm sure, but a solid movie.

Aside from a ridiculous Matrix like bullet time action sequence,

Wait, really? I don't remember this part.
posted by zardoz at 12:47 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Needs moar Kevin.
posted by bendy at 1:15 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Aside from a ridiculous Matrix like bullet time action sequence,

Wait, really? I don't remember this part.


In this case, I think it means "bullet's-eye viewpoint action sequence" as we follow the smart bullet from firing to target.
posted by Four Ds at 2:02 PM on February 13


you know the part of this that is frightening? These things are really quiet. They aren't loud clunky pieces of machinery. They are quiet, very quiet. These aren't the clompy clomp death robots from the movies...

In space noone can hear you scream.
At Boston Dynamics, noone can hear why you scream.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:05 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it can't be Matrix-y bullet time, because that was invented for Siggraph in 1997 by a dude named Paul Debevec working on his PhD thesis.
posted by xyzzy at 2:14 PM on February 13


Calm down everyone. Clearly that was a Puller Robot, not a Pusher or Shover. We're completely safe. There is no terrible secret in that space.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:14 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


They aren't loud clunky pieces of machinery. They are quiet, very quiet.

Juuuust loud enough that you sometimes think you them down the hall. But you're not completely sure.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:19 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


the prospect of technology like that has ruined pretty much every space-opera type science fiction movie for me. . . .Poe Dameron's mastery of his fighter, for instance, is ludicrously anachronistic

To be fair, it was a long time ago.
posted by The Bellman at 3:44 PM on February 13 [5 favorites]


All the doorknobs in my house are round.

I should be safe.

...for now.
posted by MrVisible at 4:09 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


...for now.

That's what they want you to think! (Ok, that one's controlled by a human, but it was eight years ago...)
posted by sysinfo at 5:15 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


If I had to choose between the completely idiotic techbro fantasy of "OMG ROBOT APOCALYPSE!" and the far more realistic likelihood of "the state is now able to project force against citizens it doesn't like at the cost of a $1,000 dollar robot produced at scale", then I'd gladly welcome our robotic overlords. Like, we already drone strike a bunch of terrified people in foreign countries - I'd argue that the main thing that's stopping that at home is the property damage from bombs. If the NYPD could scatter protesters without damaging housing prices, then I bet they would.
posted by codacorolla at 5:25 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


I watched this three times and it looked like CGI. I know these robots are real and all and maybe it's just the uncanny valley effect but I swear this didn't seem real. I dunno. Going mad.
posted by liquorice at 5:32 PM on February 13


Alternative perspective to the doomsaying: I wonder if something like this could be used to help people with mobility disabilities/limitations get around.
posted by Aleyn at 6:29 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Whoa whoa - no optimism allowed! Only speculation on how our future metal masters will grind us into dust.
posted by sysinfo at 7:36 PM on February 13


I agree with loquacious that this isn't necessarily just a pre-programmed puppet show. The hard part of getting these robots to work is the pure robotics of it. Once your robot can move around reliably and know where it is, actually programming it to do stuff is comparatively easy to build on top of those building blocks. Here's a talk from 2013 that sets up a drone with a set of beliefs and high-level goals written in Clojure, for example - it's not trivial, but it's a well-researched area in AI (from back before AI was all about machine learning).
posted by whir at 7:43 PM on February 13


If I had to choose between the completely idiotic techbro fantasy of "OMG ROBOT APOCALYPSE!" and the far more realistic likelihood of "the state is now able to project force against citizens it doesn't like at the cost of a $1,000 dollar robot produced at scale",

See, that’s the great thing about science fiction, its use of metaphor to express and address contemporary anxieties. To the people whose homes are bombed by flying drones, whether they were sent by Skynet or the US government is a near-academic distinction.
posted by ejs at 9:57 PM on February 13


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