By now, I’m sure almost everyone is familiar with the regular videos put out by Boston Dynamics. Each one features one of their robots doing increasingly human-like things, and even at times, un-human things. They seem to be released on an almost regular basis as if on a schedule. They don’t really contain any technical information, but instead are edited in a very easy to digest format for the casual, non-technical audience.
On top of that, some even have an almost lighthearted feel to them. One recent video had a “blooper” section at the end showing the robot losing balance and falling over in a comical way.
So what is the purpose of these videos. Is it simply a company keeping people up to date on a products they don’t’ even sell (yet)? That doesn’t seem very likely.
What I think the real reason is for these videos is to condition the public to be accepting of these robots when they start showing up in their towns and neighborhoods over the next few years.
Recently, it was announced that Boston Dynamics will be selling one of it’s dog-like robots starting next year. Of course, these will most likely not be purchased by individuals looking for some sort of virtual pet. I am assuming they will bought by security or military agencies.
And this is what brings me to my point. The whole point of the Boston Dynamics videos over the last few years was simply to condition people to not be as alarmed or shocked when these robots start showing up in their real lives.
Imagine if the public never knew these walking and jumping robots existed. Then one day your local police or security company bought one to patrol a parking lot or other area. People would be shocked and horrified to see a walking and jumping robot or a mechanical dog. Citizens would call the police and demand this thing be removed instantly. The first contact with one of these robot security bots would be so negative, nobody would ever accept them in their town again.
But now, because most of society has been seeing the evolution of these robots, people are being psychologically eased into the reality that these will one day show up in their own neighborhood, and possibly even barking orders at them to move their car or make them aware of some other minor violation that the robots cameras are sending to the proper authorities.
So while these videos can be entertaining to watch, they are mostly likely conditioning us all to accept these robots when they start patrolling our neighborhoods.