It seems as though robots still have a ways to go before they can take on a natural born fighter.
As robots become more and more developed, they are starting to bear more similarities to the creatures they were inspired by. According to a report from CNET, however, the difference between Boston Dynamics’ dog robot Spot and an actual terrier is still readily apparent.
As humans prepare to adapt to a world full of robots, we will face many challenges in deciding what exactly would benefit from further automation, and what is better off being left alone. While Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot can prance around like an excited dog and even traverse complex terrain, is there any purpose in building a mechanical dog when there are so many of the real thing already?
The video shows Spot wandering around a neighborhood and encountering a real-life dog. The dog seems to recognize Spot’s motions as familiar, but can immediately tell that something is off. He investigates further, inching toward the robot and then backing away with a bark. After a while, the terrier realizes that the robot doesn’t pose a threat and begins chasing Spot all over the place.
The interaction didn’t escalate any further, but the video does bring up some interesting questions about a future full of robots. Spot was originally developed by Boston Dynamics for use by the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as a reconnaissance and rescue robot. Assault troops would find such a tool useful as they investigate blind corners and dark areas.
Unfortunately, Spot was never commissioned for service because testers found it to be too noisy, eliminating its element of surprise. Boston Dynamics has ben hard at work on other robots, and hopes to find more practical applications for their technologies in the future.
For every post apocalyptic movie depicting a society ravaged by hi-tech machinery, there is a practical question about how to best utilize this exciting new technology.
A press release from the U.S. Marine Corps describing last year’s test trials for Spot can be found here.