We’ve all seen sci-fi movies. Humans develop computers and systems so advanced, we lose control over them…which eventually leads to them rising up against us, ending humanity as we know it.
Why? Well, it’s probably because of these tests Boston Dynamics carries out on their robots, where it seems like the only requirement is to be a jerk to this poor bot.
What a douche!
While it does look like they’re just being complete jerks to these robots, all of this is done with a purpose because machines have historically been terrible at adapting to changing circumstances. Give them a set task to carry out and they’ll do fine, but if you alter one of the variables in the task, the machine will often not be able to figure out what happened.
So, while on the surface it seems like the guy is simply bullying the robot, this form of exercise is vital to teach the robot how to adapt to extenuating circumstances, which will help develop more reliable bots in the future. Bots that won’t fail just because they fell over or got stuck in a corner.
In this particular case, Boston Dynamics sets the new version of their Atlas robot through multiple scenarios, interrupting it as many times as possible to find out how well it copes with changing variables. What is equal parts cool and scary is that in the demonstration, the robot does extremely well in recovering, which really speaks to the effectiveness of these tests.
That said, did he really have to do this to the poor guy?