America, Welcome Your New Robot Overlords
What can walk quickly across rocky terrain and withstand blows from a 20-pound weight with more poise than most people?
Atlas can, that's what.
Atlas, an anthropomorphic robot from the engineers at Boston Dynamics, is still in development but has already demonstrated itself to be quite dexterous. With 28 degrees of freedom, the ability to use tools designed for humans, and a sense of balance that allows it to walk on two feet or climb using both hands and legs, Atlas may just be an early prototype of our future robot overlords.
Watch this video of Atlas strolling around and try to keep yourself from envisioning it as the ruler of the universe.
The best part about it? Our robot overlords will even have little quadruped friends to keep them company and help them maintain order in their dominion.
Introducing Boston Dynamic's Wildcat:
Unfortunately, it has not yet determined whether our robot overlords will be benevolent. The Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program funds Atlas.
DARPA claims the desire to design robots that can "perform the most hazardous activities in future disaster response operations, in tandem with their human counterparts, in order to reduce casualties, avoid further destruction, and save lives." However, the M3 program claims to fund robots that can "assist in the execution of military operations far more effectively across a far greater range of missions."
While military operations can be both combat or non-combat, the knowledge that our military has control over our future robot overlords is unnerving at best. Only time will tell whether Atlas and the myriad other robots in development end up on the battlefield or responding to natural disasters.
Regardless of how Atlas ends up being used, hopefully, for the sake of the universe, it doesn't grow up to be a Cyberman.