Two versions for you. One a dystopian robot beehive and the other, a thin veneer of joyful play hiding a powerful and increasingly sophisticated machine.
Exhibit One the Ocado beehive
Robots used by the UK online-grocer Ocado zip back and forth across “the grid” delivering good to human packers who box everything up for shipment to the customers. Each robot is about the size of a washing machine and are optimized to run back and forth at great speed, missing each other by the thinnest of margins. Of course, when they don’t which causes all sorts of problems.
Exhibit Two Boston Dynamics dancers
Two videos, the first from January where the Boston Dynamics Atlas machines run thru a number of dance moves to the 1962 hit Do You Love Me? It’s a slick PR stunt to make these machines more lovable but it also had the practical benefit of pushing the team to improve their robot.
Now that Boston Dynamics is part of Hyundai, they have been put to use dancing to the likes of K-Pop boy band BTS. Here’s their most recent video where a group of Spot robots are dancing in unison.
Again, these robots can do much more than just dance. As Google Image search queries have, over time, taught the algorithm what a cat or dog looks like – teaching Atlas and Spot to dance and move with grace will help it integrate seamlessly with humans further down the road.
Are we witnessing the first steps towards Westworld?