Tuesday, March 18, 2008

That familiar uncomfortable feeling...

This video was linked to me yesterday evening...

First off...amazing. The fact that they can create something like this baffles me. This robot was created by a company called Boston Dynamics who are "Dedicated to the science and art of how things move." This company also creates realistic human characters to be added to simulations for military training. Now going through their website I did notice that these characters are nothing compared to some of the people in video games today.

The robot in the video above is the BigDog. According to their site, "BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. So far, BigDog has trotted at 3.3 mph, climbed a 35 degree slope and carried a 120 lb load." They also created one calle
d RHex, which can go through brush and rough terrain, as well as swim:

Now for some reason...watching the BigDog video made me uneasy. I cannot quite place what it is that bothers me. The...creature...is almost lifelike. It stumbles, catches it self, and keeps going. While it was slipping on the ice I almost felt embarrassed for it, as I would for someone who fell in the same way. The feeling reminded me of dreams I had as a child. I would dream of being in a zoo...and I was standing outside a cage that displayed a faceless camel. Another dream I had was of a fuzzy white bug that would climb in my window and walk on me while I was in bed. This bug would electrocute you upon toughing it. These two dreams brought up the same uncomfortable feeling as this video does. The same feeling I get when I saw, twice in my life, some strange large gray bug, in this city. I thought it was a German Cockroach, but upon research, those bugs look nothing like what I saw. This bug could probably cover the length of the palm of
my hand.
I guess the feeling stems from the thought that something is off. The thought I get with the camel and bugs, that it shouldn't be there, and something isn't right. This robot is like a horse with no head. I think it would be a lot less threatening if they had made it look like something in particular. But instead it stems across an unreal thought and images from movies and games...to the real world. Now I wonder what thought most scares me...the fact that this being, walking and reacting like a living creature shouldn't be possible, but is. Or...the thought that this company has created this and imagining what else has been made in this world. The possibilities are insane when considering something like this.

One day, I believe, our inventions will be the end of us. Or...putting our inventions against each other.

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