Because that won't end badly: Robots are learning to cooperate - Stuff

Because that won’t end badly: Robots are learning to cooperate

Because that won’t end badly: Robots are learning to cooperate

Sure it’s cute when little dog-shaped robots do it but when a velociraptor does it, we’re all freaked out. Double standards, folks. Actually, we’re a little creeped out by Boston Dynamics’ latest video showing a couple of their canine-looking critters getting through a door without human intervention. It may not be raptors but it feels like them, if you get what we’re saying.

What you’re actually looking at here is SpotMini, or rather two of the little robots made by Boston Dynamics, working together in order to get through a closed door. The kind of door with a pneumatic closing system, because normal doors aren’t difficult enough any more.

The first of the SpotMini pair, which each weigh about as much as a medium-sized dog, seems to check out the door and realise that it’s not going to be able to manipulate the handle. It appears to summon some backup, a SpotMini with a disturbingly agile robotic arm capable of opening and holding the door for its unarmed companion. A few seconds later and both robots have bypassed this cunningly-constructed human barrier.

And if you’ve got an unnerved feeling from watching that, you’re not alone. Watching a machine construct perform an action like this has given us an uneasy tingling at the base of our spines as well. Still, it’s a technological achievement that will lead to more impressive robotics advances. Think robots cooperating to clear a disaster area or shift pieces into place in order to build the first Martian colony — unless Elon gets there first with his Iron Man suit. Or, you know, Boston Dynamics could send their own Iron Man…?

Stuff South Africa's online editor and print assistant editor, Brett Venter has churned out more words on more titles than most journalists will in a career. He's kind of shy.

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