Remember late last year when we told you Hyundai was going to buy robot-dog-maker Boston Dynamics so it can, maybe, send a robot dogs to round up everyone who still owns a Hyundai Excel for, I don’t know, research purposes? Of course you remember. Well, the check cleared, title signed over, and now Hyundai owns a robot company. To celebrate, they made a really strange video.
Unlike most of my candy-arse colleagues here, I’m pro-robot. I love robots. I’d love to have a robot to help me do all kinds of dumb stuff. I sometimes confess things to my Roomba when I’m dragging that moronic e-trilobite out from under the couch yet again. I don’t think robots will rise up and enslave humanity because that’s lazy sci-fi shit and besides, as robots they don’t have any ambition.
That said, even to a robo-friendly meatbag such as myself, Hyundai’s robo-celebratory video here comes off as weird and pretentious at best, nonsensical marketing horseshit at worst.
Here, see for yourself:
What the hell was that? I mean, there are some cool things in there, like the archer with the robotic prosthetic legs — that’s very cool — but I’m not sure what they’re getting at for the rest of it.
Right from the beginning, you can tell someone was trying too hard, with all the bare feet and “going back to move ahead” meaningless platitudes. Then, we go to this:
Back to steel? Did we leave steel? Did I miss something? Is this a thing?
The fuck are you talking about, “back to water?” Are we retreating to the oceans? They say “Back to water, that allows us to go further.” What?
Now, we’re back at feet. The video started with feet, and I still don’t know what the hell they’re getting at.
From there we get this misguided idea of using a robotic dog as a seeing-eye dog for a blind person:
I suppose there may be times when this could make sense, but the truth is seeing-eye dogs do a pretty great job at this already and have the advantage of being, you know, dogs, which are fantastic.
Dogs are also a hell of a lot cheaper to make, and can run on meatballs that fall out of your sub.
Plus, how, exactly, is this guy being helped by the dog? He’s not holding a leash or anything. Are there audio cues being sent? Maybe wirelessly? if that’s the case, couldn’t the man be wearing some kind of sensor hat? Is the robot dog just clearing a path? I have so many questions.
This next bit, though, this is the worst/best part. It starts with what looks like some sort of medical bot — or at least a white robot dog with a mailbox with a Red Cross on its back, walking in a hospital:
Maybe it’s delivering some medicine to this poor sick lady:
…but, no that’s not why the robot dog was there. It was there for this:
Yes, a telepresence visit from her doctor. Now, maybe this is my own human, bipedal chauvinism, but there is no way in hell I can take a doctor seriously when it comes trotting in on four legs like a miniature centaur.
Seriously, look at that! Little robo doggie doctor comes in and tells me I have a tumour in my stomach and he needs to operate? Fuck no.
Also, how can anyone not think of this creepiness when the see Dr.Scraps there quadrapeding his way in:
Look, I’m happy to talk to a telepresence robot, but if it’s a doctor or a lawyer or my ornithologist or some authority figure I want the damn thing at least a roughly eye level and either bipedal or rolling. I’m not saying it’s entirely rational, but these robots are designed to work in the confines of human culture, thousands of years of which tell us not to take medical advice from a fucking dog.
I mean, the video even goes right to the next scene with a little girl dancing in the middle of a mosaic’d walkway with a burly bipedal robot. Why couldn’t the doctor’s ipad have been on the face of this thing?
I mean, yeah, it’s shaped kind of like one of the pigs after learning how to walk upright in Animal Farm, but at least it at least has a bit of the gravity you’d want a doctor to convey, right?
So why the fuck is it dancing outside with some kid? Let the dog-bot do that, and let the upright one tell people the bad news about what happened with their vasectomies or whatever.
Finally, the video ends by roping you into the mess:
The end line is literally “For all of us…because of you.”
What the hell does that mean? What did any of this mean? Was this just a flex because they had some AI write the script and direct it? Did the robots write this? Are they in charge now? Was I wrong to dismiss the silly robot-takeover ideas?
Hyundai, are you ok? Hyundai?