Remember how performance artists MSCHF put together an online paintball game to illustrate what Boston Dynamics’ Spot would look like in a militarised situation? Remember how Boston Dynamics wasn’t pleased with this state of affairs? Well, it seems the French military is currently exploring how Spot would function in a military context.
See Spot gun
21. Je déploie le robot pour reconnaitre OSCAR3.
Retour en images sur l’exercice de recherche appliquée organisé les 30 et 31 mars par l’EMIA et le centre de recherche. Robotisation du champ de bataille : sensibiliser les élèves aux enjeux de demain. #CapaciTERRE #Robots pic.twitter.com/HiZ2BFOZPY
— Académie militaire de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan (@SaintCyrCoet) April 6, 2021
Boston Dynamics’ robot dog hasn’t been outfitted with weapons or anything like that, however. It was used, mostly for reconnaissance, during a two-day exercise conducted by the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, a French military academy. Who then posted about it on Twitter.
French website Ouest-France explained further (hope those Duolingo lessons have proved worth it), saying that the metal canine was one of several robots being used by France’s Combined Arms School (the École Militaire Interarmes) in order to assess the potential of battlefield robots in the future.
Boston Dynamics, obviously, isn’t pleased about this. The company’s Michael Perry, speaking to The Verge, pointed out this particular Spot was sold to the French military by a European distributor and that the company had no knowledge of the sale beforehand.
Boston Dynamics terms and conditions actually forbid use of the robot “…to harm or intimidate any person or animal, as a weapon, or to enable any weapon.” Which, technically, hasn’t taken place here. But, as we’ve pointed out, Boston Dynamics will eventually lose control of the robots they sell, no matter their good intentions. Then, how they’re used won’t be up to the company any longer.