I grew up watching the stupid Honda robots on TV.
They were frequently featured, and still are, on news shows, thrown together with all those filler, a-puppy-saved-an-old-lady-from-a-fire kind of news.
Every time was the same: the news anchor would introduce the latest version of the Asimo robot as if it was something exciting. And every time not even himself could believe his own hype. Those robots were boooring.
Anybody watching the show knew that the white robot was as amazing as a children’s battery-powered doll that makes a couple of moves and says some lines.
Nothing to do with a true Star Wars robot, nothing to make you frightened about an upcoming insurrection of the machines.
So I, like most people, gave up on robots. It just wasn’t going to happen, at least not any time soon.
Until ten years ago. Ten years ago everything changed. I discovered “BIG DOG” on YouTube.
“BIG DOG”, finally a robot that blew my mind, not that like gay Asimo.
Finally something that, at the same time, excited me for its potential and scared me for its risks.
I’m not going to explain why that robot was the beginning of a whole new thing. Just watch this video:
Amazing, isn’t it. The bot moves like an animal. And did you see how it reacts when they guy kicks it? Those movements are absolutely complex. It’s so alive-like that it’s give you the creeps.
And the most shocking thing is how few people has seen these videos.
It’s been already 12 years since it was created and every time I say to somebody: “come I’ll show you a robot that is really amazing.” Everybody is fascinated by it but nobody had seen it before!
Why is this wonder so unknown while gay Asimo is universally known (and universally shunned)?
Because Honda makes a whole show out of the latest Asimo version each year and Boston Dynamics is keeping a low profile.
Boston Dynamics, is the company behind Big Dog and many other cutting edge robots.
Initially, I don’t know why the kept such a low profile (after all publicity would have meant more funding for a small company as they were).
But then Google bought it. Yes, they did it again!
And since Google acquired it there’s a big reason to keep the low profile: people are afraid of spooky looking robots that remind them of The Terminator. And People are afraid of Google, it has a big-brotherish image.
So Google can’t afford make people even more scared by displaying these really advanced robots too much.
I’ll say goodbye with an extra Big Dog video. Big Dog throwing a rock (the cables are for electric power, but it can also ran on oil like on the other video):
If you want to look how insignificant the latest version of Honda’s robot looks in comparison, here you go: