One day, robots may be dancing on our graves, and they’re going to be surprisingly good at it! Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm once owned by Google and now a part of Hyundai, has posted another fascinating and mildly disconcerting video showing off the smooth movement and agility of its robots. This time, the company put together a little dance routine set to the 1962 hit track “Do You Love Me” by The Contours.
The song, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard charts, is less than three minutes long, but it’s jam-packed with robots. The video starts with Atlas, a 6-foot humanoid robot that has previously leaped on top of boxes and done a flip, getting down with its bad self. The clever thing about the video is how it ramps up. You start with the single robot, and just as you’re about to get bored, boom, there’s another Atlas dancing in lock-step with the first. They’ve got great rhythm — digital, I assume.
Again, you don’t have time to truly come to terms with the lifelike movement of the humanoid robots, because here comes Spot just a minute later. This quadrupedal robot is the only product Boston Dynamics sells to the public — you can get your own for a mere $75,000. Although, I imagine it’s not easy to program it to dance like this. Still, this shows how limber Boston Dynamics’ robots can be with a skilled operator, similar to the “Uptown Funk” dance from 2018. Even the clunky-looking Handle box-lifting robot joins the fun, rolling around like Big Bird on wheels.
Boston Dynamics says in the video description that the demo features its “whole crew,” but there’s no sign of the classic BigDog robot that was the company’s first online hit. Presumably, it means just the bots it’s still actively developing. BigDog probably wasn’t agile enough to get its dance on anyway.
Hyundai recently acquired 80 percent of Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for $880 million. SoftBank kept a 20 percent stake in the company via an affiliate but won’t have any say on how the company is run. Hyundai hasn’t announced any plans for Boston Dynamics, but at least the new management hasn’t put a stop to Boston Dynamics’ cheeky YouTube videos. The videos will have to do until we can all have robotic servants that definitely won’t rise up and destroy humanity while dancing to “Do You Love Me.” To answer that question: We kind of do, but only so we don’t have to be afraid.
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