Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert recently showed off an impressive robot called H.A.N.D.L.E. Marc Raibert himself even calling the creation nightmarish. Someone in the crowd had a cell phone and recorded a rough video. Feeling like something out of the movie Iron Man when Tony Stark revealed video of his competitors Iron Man suits to a hostile Senate the footage is dramatic. So is the robot. No doubt the audience in the video was very enthusiastic about one of the new robots called H.A.N.D.L.E. A rolling humanoid bot designed to carry very heavy loads, maneuver in and out, over and under various obstacles. All at a very high rate of speed. Just begging for a belt fed mini gun and two huge ammo boxes placed at it’s hips. Scary indeed and this is just what is being shown to the public.
Boston Dynamics came out of M.I.T. with funding from D.A.R.P.A. in 1992 and is a defense contractor. They make weapons. H.A.N.D.L.E wasn’t made to brew a latte or vacuum the rug. Boston Dynamics is a Google/Alphabet-owned robot company that specializes in making it’s product for the military market.
Looking at the video it is clear what capabilities these products are designed to have. Every time one of these robots is demonstrated it is either working at a big box store or factory. Then chasing “something” through rough terrain or getting up after a human has knocked it over. Please look at all the videos put out by Boston Dynamics and notice this common theme. Sure there are some cute scenarios presented but the plain fact remains. These are weapons. It’s actually a bit of dark humor when looking at it from this perspective. Not the “Gee Whiz” and “Isn’t this Great” reaction from the crowd in the leaked video. One guy at the end sounded a little too excited.
The dangers these type of weapons will have in the not so distant future are obvious but an arms race will ensue. First militaries will use these type of weapons. Then almost all jobs will be automated by one robot or another. Law enforcement will of course follow suit then it will be deployed against the people. The temptations of authoritarian regimes to deploy these systems will be irresistible. Using history as a guide it’s not hard to see where this is all going. Needless to say H.A.N.D.L.E won’t be buttering your toast in the morning.
Editors Note: The official Boston Dynamics video on H.A.N.D.L.E was released months later.