"#BlackMirror" is trending on Twitter, and it's not because there are new episodes of the dystopian nightmare drama — it's because a new video of Boston Dynamics' robots was released, and people are freaking out. The robots, Atlas, Spot, and Handle, are as sophisticated as ever. In fact, their moves are so smooth and artful, many people are wondering if the video is actually CGI. The video shows Atlas, Spot, and newbie Handle dancing to The Contours' "Do You Love Me," and it's both delightful and frightening at the same time. Remember the Black Mirror episode "Metalhead"?
The tweets surrounding the release of the otherwise joyful and cool video are pretty spot-on. We're all thinking the same thing, though. And that's because robots are, well, powerful. "The new Black Mirror season trailer featuring robots from Boston Dynamics looks amazing and terrifying at the same time," one person wrote.
"Sweet suffering Jesus. After the rise of machines, this is what they'll do on top of our charred, conquered remains. Black Mirror is like some kind of comforting fairy tale by comparison," another wrote. Sounds dramatic, but you never know.
"Have we learned NOTHING from Black Mirror, iRobot, etc.?!" another person pointed out. Apparently not.
Are the Boston Dynamics robots real?
Yup, the Boston Dynamics robots in the new video (and all the videos they've released so far) are real, and as far as we know, the video is unedited. The robots are just that good. In fact, Boston Dynamics was purchased by Hyundai for $1.1 billion in early December, which likely means big things are coming for Atlas and company.
Boston Dynamics was created back in 1992 and purchased Alphabet X's division in 2013, and then again in 2017 by Softbank. It's not surprising that this robotics company is in high demand, although a lot of people have worries about the robots being used for nefarious purposes, like weaponry. Or if the robots will gain sentience and rebel against their creators. Some viewers have pointed out the (maybe deliberate) inclusion of the hockey stick in the video, which is a reference to the 2016 video starring a young Atlas.
In the video, a box keeps getting pushed away from Atlas with a hockey stick, making Atlas look kind of dopey. In reality, the technology to make Atlas continue to attempt to pick up the box, even though it's being moved away from him (tauntingly) was really impressive then.
Will Atlas remember that he was humiliated by that hockey stick? It's unclear how much the robots are capable of (and we probably wouldn't be given access to that information, anyway).
The last music video-esque video we got from Boston Dynamics was this adorable video of Spot dancing to "Uptown Funk" in 2018.
Boston Dynamics updates their YouTube frequently with progress reports for their robots. You can see how hard the robotics teams have been working on the robots' dexterity. It really is pretty awesome.
Is this the beginning of the end, as many AI-wary people have warned? Maybe! For now, just enjoy the show.