It happened. Someone stuck a weapon on Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot.
This realises a deep-set fear for many Black Mirror viewers who have been nervously watching Spot’s growing prowess as an automated robot. The dog-bot recently got a neat self-charging update and an attachable arm, giving it all the tools it needs for world domination.
However, Boston Dynamics has always claimed it only intends for Spot to be used for good.
Somebody weaponised Spot…
The prankster/marketing collective MSCHF has been known for causing viral chaos with its products. The company’s latest target is Spot.
In a stunt known as ‘Spot‘s Rampage‘, MSCHF has acquired one of Boston Dynamics’ Spot bots and strapped a paintball gun to its back. The company then handed over the keys to a bunch of users online around the world who could remotely control the robot via their phones.
Users could move Spot around a purpose-built room in an art gallery, shooting paintballs from a Tippmann 98 at walls and sculptures. Control of Spot was handed over to a new player every 2 minutes and the whole event was live-streamed online.
MSCHF made a statement on its page about the intention behind this demonstration. The manifesto reads:
“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. And what do police departments have? Strong unions! Spot is employee of the month. You never need to union bust a robot – but a robot can union bust you.”
You can’t deny they have a point because the NYPD already has such a robot dog in its police force.
Spot’s Rampage ran for a limited time on February 24th and has since ended. You can check out all the chaos that was caused on MSCHF’s website.
…And Boston Dynamics isn’t happy about it
The company behind Spot was none too pleased with this demonstration. Boston Dynamics says on its website that Spot “should never be used to harm or intimidate any person or animal or for any illegal or ultra-hazardous purpose.”
So, when Boston Dynamics got wind of Spot’s Rampage it had this to say:
— Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics) February 20, 2021
The company has previously put precautions in place to ensure Spot wasn’t used for evil. Users who violate the terms and conditions of sale run the risk of having their warranty voided. Boston Dynamics can even remotely disable the robot from use.
When asked if Boston Dynamics approved of Spot’s Rampage, MSCHF added this its website, “well here is what Boston Dynamics has to say on that subject… So, no. We’re just dog sitting for a friend ;)”
While this is one of the first instances of Spot being used in violation of Boston Dynamics intentions, everyone knows the potential is there. Although Spot has been shown to be useful in plenty of other situations, such as checking out the radiation levels in Chernobyl.