Boston Dynamics Bids Farewell To 2020 With Weirdly Watchable Robot Dance Video

“If they don’t love us, we’re in deep trouble!” said Elon Musk of the bizarre robotic dance-off.

Boston Dynamics/Screengrab

Boston Dynamics robots were already noted for their preternatural skills—some can do straight-up acrobatics, and the company’s signature ‘bot, Spot, is becoming a part of the workforce, even patrolling parks to warn humans to maintain pandemic-related social distancing habits. 

Then there’s this celebratory video the company shared this week that has since gone viral. It shows robots Atlas, Handle, and Spot absolutely nailing every move in a lip-synch and dance routine set to The Contours’ Do You Love Me.

There are a few ways to look at the video—one view could be that it’s charming in a kind of Pixar-ish way (think the animation house’s famous hopping desk lamp). In fact, it’s a little hard to believe on the first watch that this isn’t CGI too. But apparently, these are the real robots, and the routine has been programmed to give them distinctly humanlike movements, right down to body language.

Another way to look at it: This is scary as hell. A few tweets from some of Twitter’s more skeptical and pessimistic users illustrate why a bunch of robots ably jamming to a golden oldie is just so much catchy nightmare fuel.

Then again, there were some people who admitted they found it charming, regardless of how the video suggested robots are becoming incredibly, creepily capable of complex movement to the degree where they could one day kill us all. 

“Skynet,” the artificial intelligence from the Terminator movie franchise that plays a key role in destroying humankind, was mentioned by many who commented on the video, even though these robots are decidedly less intimidating than the metal skeleton of a Terminator.

(Photo: TriStar Pictures)

It may have been Tesla mogul Elon Musk who really captured the mixture of fear and amusement felt when watching this video.

“If they don’t love us,” Musk tweeted at one of the many people who posted the video, “we’re in deep trouble!”