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Oct 14, 2021

War dogs

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Today we learned that an art group is planning a spectacle to draw attention to a provocative use of our industrial robot, Spot. To be clear, we condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm, or intimidation. It’s precisely the sort of thing the company tries to get out in front of. After decades of killer-robot science-fiction, it doesn’t take much to make people jump any time an advanced robot enters the picture. It’s the automaton version of Rule 34 (in staunch defiance of Asimov’s First Law of Robotics): If a robot exists, someone has tried to weaponize it.

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Let’s talk about strapping guns to the backs of robots. I’m not a fan (how’s that for taking a stand?). When MSCHF did it with Spot back in February, it was a thought experiment, art exhibit and a statement about where society might be headed with autonomous robotics. And most importantly, of course, it was a paintball gun. Boston Dynamics clearly wasn’t thrilled with the message it was sending, noting:

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