Video Of The Day: Amazing New Atlas Robot Can Walk, Lift, And Make You Feel Very Sorry For It

Published March 1, 2016
Updated September 28, 2018

The incredible new bipedal Atlas robot possesses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, but it still can't defend itself against a hockey stick.

Boston Dynamics took the Internet by storm back in 2013 when they debuted a video of their four-legged monster, the “Wildcat.” Now they’re back at it, and this time they have a robot with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that can walk on two legs, pick up boxes, and master snowy terrain — well, in the same way a teenager has mastered the drunken stumble, at least.

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Still impressive. Image Source: YouTube

This new invention, the Atlas robot, can also do one more thing: make people feel very, very sorry for it.

See, the Atlas robot is built to automatically respond to stimuli in its environment. And in the case of Boston Dynamics’ new video, that “stimuli” is being continuously harassed by a hockey stick-wielding employee.

In the video, you can see the Atlas robot try to pick up boxes, put them back down again, and generally try to do its job, yet one guy can’t help but repeatedly whack the box out of Atlas’ hands with a hockey stick (much like a high school bully knocking down some poor kid’s lunch tray). Eventually, the Boston Dynamics crew just pushes Atlas down entirely.

Atlas isn’t the type of A.I. robot that lets a little bullying keep it down though; it gets right back up each time.

Robots with A.I. may someday take over the world, but until then, you can’t help but anthropomorphize the Atlas robot — and feel just a little bit sad for it.

Once you’ve checked out the Atlas robot, discover some more of mankind’s most astonishing robots.

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.