The Boston Dynamics robots are getting closer to their final form. With their awkward chicken legs and lack of head, these robots elicit fear and anger from the public thanks to the machine’s uncanny movements and impossible strength.
While the company has long attempted to impress the public with its advanced robotics, releasing videos in which the robots dance and perform feats of athleticism, the reception has always been one of fear. They’re just a little too weird looking. To some, that fear goes farther: They’re a sign of the upcoming confrontation between humans and robots, similar to those found in science fiction movies.
Despite their attempts to ingratiate the public on the side of the machines, Boston Dynamics has also allowed police departments to begin testing their robotic dog. In 2019, the Massachusetts State Police was the first law enforcement agency in the country to use the dog for bomb disposal. Now, a New York-based startup, hellbent on making a public display of Boston Dynamics’ dangers, is handing the controls to the public.
Going live on February 24th, “Spot’s Rampage,” a pseudo-art exhibition, publicity stunt and meme-y prank, in which internet users control a Boston Dynamics robot, armed with a paintball gun, in a Brooklyn art gallery. Every two minutes, a new internet user gets control of the trigger, allowing them to wander the gallery and shoot one-of-a-kind pieces of art.
The company running the event, MSCHF (pronounced “mischief), regularly hosts splashy events in the name of political art and theater. They write in its manifesto, “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.”
Boston Dynamics is none-too-happy about the event. MSCHF says that the company hated the idea and offered to give them “another TWO Spots for FREE if we took the gun off.”
In a statement, Boston Dynamics tweeted public condemnation of the event.
“We condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm, or intimidation,” Boston Dynamics tweeted. “Our mission is to create and deliver surprisingly capable robots that inspire, delight & positively impact society.”
— Boston Dynamics (@BostonDynamics) February 20, 2021
Previously, MSCHF has garnered attention with a variety of stunts. They held a contest to see who could hold a button down on an app the longest, awarding the winner $25,000, and sold “Jesus Shoes,” a pair of sneakers with holy water in the soles.
Spot’s Rampage will be held on Wednesday, February 24th, at 1 P.M. eastern standard time.