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 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.
I, for one, welcome our Boston Dynamics robot overlords.
— ϻ𝔞Ⓡ𝔨 𝐇𝑜Ƥ𝐩ย𝓼 (@markhoppus) December 29, 2020
Everyone always acts like the Boston Dynamics robots are gonna kill us all when they are really just feelin themselves and waiting us out pic.twitter.com/6A0GxHZH81
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) December 30, 2020
Slightly creepy, I have to admit. Robots from Boston Dynamics are having a party and seem to be throughly enjoying it. What’s next? pic.twitter.com/qnWgCg0AhE
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) December 30, 2020
this is all i can imagine when watching those @BostonDynamics videos
plz spare me dancing robot overlords https://t.co/qDozi6Mo8L
— Andy Bohan 🇮🇪 (@andygmb1) December 30, 2020
I think your reaction to Boston Dynamics robots and your opinion of cops are going to directly correlate in some fashion
— Dracula Awareness Activist (@bombsfall) December 29, 2020
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.
— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) December 29, 2020
It's pretty awesome how dancing makes robots less intimidating. Looking forward to seeing more nontrivial Machine Learning on these robots. Credit: Boston Dynamics. pic.twitter.com/wnB2i9qhdQ
— Reza Zadeh (@Reza_Zadeh) December 29, 2020
— Susan Li (@SusanLiTV) December 30, 2020
“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.
If they don’t love us, we’re in deep trouble!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 29, 2020
“If they don’t love us,” Musk tweeted at one of the many people who posted the video, “we’re in deep trouble!”