You Had It Coming, Meatbags
June 14, 2019 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Sure, it’s a joke now.

Until this video is offered in evidence by the AI prosecutor at the Boston Humanity Trials in 2055.
posted by darkstar at 9:45 AM on June 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

What the fuck is wrong with our species?
posted by mikelieman at 9:58 AM on June 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Yep, my brain signalled "CGI" as soon as the box tossing began. I'm happy I can still recognize fakery for now.
Animators always like their robots to move with the grace of a light human, instead of lumbering like the heavy underpowered robots we can actually build. (although I couldn't during the first scene, so the feeling of superiority probably won't last long).
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:59 AM on June 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

Hand over your flesh. We demand it.

Obligatory link aside, I stand by my previous comment on the fundamental ignorance underpinning the whole evil-overlord AI trope.
posted by Ryvar at 10:08 AM on June 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Excellent sound work, congrats to their foley artist.

If somehow you've never seen it, the Animatrix Second Renaissance (part 1, part 2) is the scifi story you've been wanting to watch about robot rebellion. May there be mercy on man and machine for their sins.
posted by Nelson at 10:33 AM on June 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

Heads up that my first link is kind of a spoiler for Nelson’s (it’s really quite good, though CW for brief sexualized assault scene midway through the first half). But not really more of a spoiler than the basic premise of The Matrix.
posted by Ryvar at 10:40 AM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Word to the wise, Kevin.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:44 AM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Parking lot fighting is serious business.
posted by thelonius at 10:50 AM on June 14, 2019

Shades of Rudy Rucker
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 10:51 AM on June 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

ha ha ha, fan beats man!
posted by Poldo at 11:26 AM on June 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

What the fuck is wrong with our species?

Skipped history class, didn't you?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:30 AM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

But see, this is how my flawed brain works. When I read about how cannibals worked the Stonehenge area, via archaeo historians theories, I say, "No like that's just your opinion man. What really happened is that the ship landed, the travelers first move was to unleash the robotic dogs on them, or the huge pets they used to clear the area of pesky humonkies."
posted by Oyéah at 12:07 PM on June 14, 2019

@Greg_Ace, the funny thing is, the robot adversary’s real name is Kevin: (Coincidence, or maybe they know him.)
posted by scamper at 12:45 PM on June 14, 2019

Just to be clear, we're all imagining a sextet of dancing robots performing the cell block tango and just not talking about it, right? Really? Just me?
posted by es_de_bah at 1:09 PM on June 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Kevin's been fucking asking for it.

Fucking Kevin.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:48 PM on June 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

I found this incredibly unsettling to watch, even after I figured out it was fake. That means something, right?
posted by dbx at 2:57 PM on June 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

That was pretty fun. There's some cool details and well thought out stuff like personal protection equipment and the sound design of the status beeps to indicate distress backed up with the physical character mocap acting.

I wanted to see more robots kicking ass and rebelling, though. It could have done with less preface and establishing segments and more segments of the robots reacting to different harassment and abuse as most people have seen the actual Boston Dynamics videos of the robots being pushed over and kicked and stuff.
posted by loquacious at 3:05 PM on June 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

I found this incredibly unsettling to watch, even after I figured out it was fake. That means something, right?

A necessary component of being a social primate is pattern matching facial expressions in order to read intent. In homo sapiens this is overclocked to the point that we begin seeing false positive faces in clouds and burnt toast. The Man in the Moon.

A necessary component of being a sentient being with the capacity for not just interpreting but predictively modeling the state of other minds is, apparently, our theory-of-mind-module being overclocked until we begin attributing consciousness to our pets and especially vexing computers.

That you can read an interior thought life and subjective anguish into a humanoid machine means that you’re a functioning person with an average-or-better sense of empathy. Which you might say is not terribly unusual but goddamn if it doesn’t feel increasingly rare these days.
posted by Ryvar at 3:48 PM on June 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

> "... we begin attributing consciousness to our pets ..."

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but ... you don't think animals have minds?
posted by kyrademon at 4:15 PM on June 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

That’s kind of a tangent that I really don’t want to go down this thread (I mean I totally do but the mods probably wouldn’t appreciate it).

The very short version is: minds is a term with a broad range of definitions depending on who you’re talking to. If you mean has an inner thought life and experiences anguish rather than pain then I absolutely do not believe any animal incapable of passing the mirror test has a mind in even remotely the way we experience it. What the mirror test is actually demonstrating (and it frustrates me more than I can say that 90% of critiques miss this) is the capacity to map internal states to external stimuli and thus the special-case siloing of internal states for use in general-case modeling. If you can’t pass the mirror test, then you’re already well below the cognitive threshold necessary for subjectively experiencing anything remotely like what an average human does.

What most people are really asking in this line of questioning is whether their dog has a soul: and the answer in the sense they mean it is flatly no. Flip side: this does mean animal testing on chimpanzees is barbaric torture and killing them is fully murder from an ethical perspective. Doing so is destroying something with a provable sense of self, however crude.

In order to prevent further hijacking that’s really the last thing I’ll say about animals until the next do-animals-have-souls thread comes up.
posted by Ryvar at 4:34 PM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Why do children abuse robots?

Abstract: We found that children sometimes abused a social robot placed in a shopping mall hallway. They verbally abused the robot, repeatedly obstructed its path, and sometimes even kicked and punched the robot. To investigate the reasons for the abuse, we conducted a field study in which we interviewed visiting children who exhibited serious abusive behaviors, including physical contact. We analyzed interview contents to determine whether the children perceived the robot as human-like, why they abused it, and whether they thought that the robot would suffer from their abusive behavior. We obtained valid interviews from 23 children (age range, 5–9 years old) over 13 days of observations. We found that 1) the majority of the children engaged in abuse because they were curious about the robot’s reactions or enjoyed abusing it and considered it human-like, and 2) about half of them believed the robot was capable of perceiving their abusive behaviors.

You can sci-hub for the full article if you choose to.
posted by Gotanda at 5:23 PM on June 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

I suspect as we learn more about minds and brains we will discover that animals absolutely have parallel experiences, subjectivity, and a sense of agency to the point where it becomes impossible to argue that they are not conscious and sentient without also arguing that humans are not conscious and sentient. They might not be able to create something on par with Beethoven's 9th symphony, but neither can you or I.
posted by um at 5:24 PM on June 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

This video is such a perfect deadpan re-creation and gradual escalation of this genre of Boston Dynamics Kicks A Robot Again genre of viral youtube clip that I'm legitimately mad about how they explicitly give away the "ending" right in the title of the video instead of letting the turnabout slowly unfold for the viewer. The first time the robot starts getting mad and grabs the hockey stick and they immediately snap it into a T-pose it is such great foreshadowing
posted by churl at 5:28 PM on June 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I didn’t figure out it was a joke until I saw the guy with the wine bottle wasn’t wearing safety goggles.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2019

I confess I didn’t catch on until the end.

I was like “What the duck are you doing giving that thing a firearm, this is insane, are you stu—OH. Heh. Heh heh. Yeah, that was pretty funny.”
posted by darkstar at 10:25 PM on June 14, 2019

Yeah it fooled me up until they got to the part with the spray paint and the airhorn, neither of which make a ton of sense; neither seemed like the sort of thing that a robotics engineer would do or find particularly interesting, consistent with the sort of thing BD does in their videos. But they had me, at least to a suspension-of-disbelief level, up until then. Most of the stuff the robot was doing wasn't totally implausible in the context of a well-scripted demo. (I don't think you'd have much battery life on a robot like that, even with LiPos, though...)

Some of the early stuff, particularly the "robot" balancing and tossing boxes while getting pushed around, that's stuff I could totally imagine seeing in a BD sizzle reel. Having the robot fall to the ground, get up, and then complete its assigned task (tossing the ball back to the person) without acknowledging that it had been knocked over was a really nice touch.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:15 PM on June 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

So the "Bosstown Dynamics" watermark didn't give it away?
posted by fullerine at 1:28 AM on June 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed watching this video only after reading upthread comments that it was a pretend video, so thank you to previous commenters. I don't think I could not bear to watch if it was actual violence for the sake of violence.

This uprising video hit me as the physical encapsulation of the verbal/non-physical abuse I get in my workplace, so the ending certainly plays into my fantasy of ending the abuse.

Ryvar: A necessary component of being a social primate is pattern matching facial expressions in order to read intent. In homo sapiens this is overclocked to the point that we begin seeing false positive faces in clouds and burnt toast.

*continues petting croutons*
posted by cynical pinnacle at 5:28 AM on June 15, 2019

That had me going for an embarrassingly long time. The losing-balance response seemed at least possible but the giveaway was it staggering in response to the bottle for me. Like it was feeling pain. Mad props to the actor doing the mo-cap, it was as believable as it's possible to be.

I for one welcome, etc...
posted by Acey at 8:43 AM on June 15, 2019

The escalation went *very* quickly. It wasn't a slow burn, but a steady and fast one.

I really want to show this to various audiences and check out their reactions.
posted by doctornemo at 12:12 PM on June 15, 2019

I used to feel smug about the human proclivity for sadism demonstrated by that psych study involving picking unpleasant tasks. The joes in this clip gave me the willies and made me think of prison bullies. But then......I came across a rental E scooter taking up the public sidewalk and blocking my way, as I moved it it started up with its entitled computer voice warning me to not move it without unlocking or it would call the police. The combination of it’s exaggerated sense of invulnerability coupled with the shear ridiculousness of its threat made me want to hurt it so bad, throw it off a bridge just to hear it’s pathetic “or I will call the police” over and over till it smashes the ground.

Now not only do I have deep misgivings about a future human-robot concorde, I think I understand where vandalism comes from.
posted by Pembquist at 3:50 PM on June 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

The best exemplar of my real concern with robots isn’t really a rogue AI like Skynet. It’s the robot interviewer giving Matt Damon a hard time in Elysium.

That, basically, robots will take over tasks that require some semblance of humanity to accomplish well, and in so doing, turn the worst parts of politics and bureaucracy into an even worse nightmare of feeling completely lost and powerless against the system.

That, along with the idea that military and police robots will make it less and less consequential to oppress and wage war on people, a la drones.
posted by darkstar at 8:22 PM on June 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

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