WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Dog robots “Spot” will be remotely tested.
- The online campaign aimed to raise ethical questions about probable misuse of the robots in the future.
- MSCHF, proponent of the campaign, said that the human race will be at the losing end “when remote-operated dogs of war become commonplace.”
Boston Dynamics’ $75,000 “Spot” robots will be remotely controlled to stir questions about potential malfunction.
MSCHF, the startup New-York-based company who initiated the online campaign “Spot’s Rampage,” is known for its shocking stunts, product drops and bizarre items such as holy water-filled sneakers and toaster-shaped bathbombs.
On Wednesday at 1pm ET, the company will unleash Spot in a small art gallery at its Brooklyn headquarters.
Website visitors will be given a chance to control Spot for two minutes. After that, another user will take over the dog robot.
The campaign’s outcome will seemingly turn chaotic enough to incite uncertainties for possible robot error. Spot will even come with a paintball gun for extra havoc.
“Everyone in this world takes one look at cute little Spot and knows: this thing will definitely be used by police and the military to murder people,” MSCHF said, wanting to raise ethical questions.
The stunt company informed Boston Dynamics about its campaign and was offered with two additional units for free if they would call off the move.
“We talked with Boston Dynamics and they HATED this idea. They said they would give us another TWO Spots for FREE if we took the gun off,” MSCHF said. “That just made us want to do this even more…”
Boston Dynamics told the Daily Dot that an MSCHF representative initially said that the robot would be for some art project. Months after, they were informed about the plan so they suggested other alternatives — such as using an attachable arm to allow Spot to use a paintbrush instead.
In a public statement on Friday, Boston Dynamics criticized the campaign and called it a “spectacle to draw attention to a provocative use” of its robot.
“To be clear, we condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm, or intimidation,” the company wrote. “Our mission is to create and deliver surprisingly capable robots that inspire, delights & positively impact society.”
The Daily Dot was given early access to Spot’s Rampage and was able to remotely control Spot using a mobile phone.
The highly capable robot was surprisingly reactive, firing its paintball gun in the general direction of numerous art pieces, but it had limitations. It never ran headfirst into any objects despite brushing up against some of them several times — all because of its built-in obstacle detection system. Spot, however, tumbled over twice when met with a slick spot on the floor, and quickly rolled over and stood back up like nothing happened.
No prize is involved in the controversial campaign. MSCHF told users that in the end, no one is a winner, but ultimately, there’s one loser: The human race, when remote-operated dogs of war become commonplace.”
Source: Daily Dot