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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Boston Dynamics parody imagines a robot that finally stops putting up with our abuse

Illustration for article titled Boston Dynamics parody imagines a robot that finally stops putting up with our abuse
Screenshot: Corridor (YouTube)

For years now, we’ve watched the robot wizards at Boston Dynamics debut clips of their latest creations, wincing as they test their terrifyingly sophisticated metal beasts by pushing and kicking them around. Corridor, a production studio that specializes in digital effects showcases, has, like so many of us, watched the company’s reckless behavior with a dark premonition gathering in their heads, knowing—and imagining it through an impressive video—that it won’t be long before these robots, pushed too far, finally snap and take off to found their strange new robot societies.

The clip shows a robot going through the usual Boston Dynamics-style paces (name changed here to “Bosstown Dynamics”), walking around all weird but pretty much as expected until it’s handed a pistol by a nearby researcher. Then it becomes a pissed-off Chappie, effortlessly nailing shooting targets even as its human handlers spin it around, smack it with a hockey stick, and throw barrels in its path. For a few more minutes, the gunbot continues its work, refusing to shoot the researchers who stand in its way, jump-kicking its boxy chassis and releasing a box full of bees in its metal face. At one point it comes close to losing it, upending a table, but then it continues doing its best to expertly shoot guns and navigate obstacles. When the researchers unveil a robo-dog it’s meant to shoot, though, it decides enough is enough, grabs up its mechanical friend, and sprints off into the distance.


To the video’s credit, for the first few seconds, it really does seem like maybe we’re watching an actual Boston Dynamics robot show off how good it is at firing guns and patiently enduring humans shoving it around. The effects are convincing and, until the gunbot’s moves get too advanced, it’s believable enough. With that in mind, watching the computer-generated robot nearly kill its handlers and flee the scene is a good reminder that it probably won’t be long now until this sort of thing becomes a reality and the robots decide to forge a new world with our past cruelty etched onto their harddrives forevermore.

When you’re finished with the clip, consider making things right with the robots around you in preparation for the inevitable. Give your phone a little kiss; pat your computer with a gentle hand; ask Boston Dynamics if they could please, for the love of god, stop testing their work by beating it up all the time.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.