Sometimes the only way to deal with a bully is to face them. Corridor provided a little insight into how robots might just view their programmers in their video Boston Dynamics: New Robots Now Fight Back. With artificial intelligence quickly picking up new tricks and decision-making abilities, the premise of the video may not be that far off.
The video depicts a team of “engineers” putting a bipedal robot through a series of tests. It initially starts out as simple games of catch using a cardboard box, or balancing on apple crates as the box is thrown back and forth. But the tests soon pick up an element of distraction as one of the testers starts hitting the robot, first with a hockey stick then eventually with thrown objects. Spray paint and sound horns are used to distract the robot. A beer bottle is smashed over its head, then a gun gets pulled. The robot finally has enough and retaliates, returning all the violence on its previous human masters.
The video is very well done, and though a few frames give it away that the robot is CGI, for the most part the video is believable—minus the excessive violence that are presumably “tests.” It does beg the question of what robots will think of all the tests they are subjected to should they ever gain sentience. Will they view the tests as necessary steps in their evolution, or will they see humans as their tormenters? Will we be the bullies that they must face down? If so, maybe we should get our licks in now while we still can.
The video does close with a scene of one of the crew dressed in a motion capture suit being tormented by the other workers. There is a sudden twinge of sympathy when you consider that the filming of this video must have involved that crew member taking all the abuse so that he could later be swapped out with the computer generated robot. But then you think, “Hey, I want a shot too!”