Have you ever seen the tank of nightmare gas at present circulating across the web — the video the place a robotic canine fires an assault rifle? I’ve bought good and dangerous information.

The excellent news: It’s in all probability only a harmful toy cobbled collectively by a Russian hoverbike startup man.

Vice traced the video again to a Russian hoverbike firm founder named Alexander Atamanov, who uploaded each the video and a high-res picture of the gun-dog-bot in March. Taking a look at each the bot itself, it’s not clear it’s something greater than a gun strapped to an present Unitree dogbot. (It’s not clear if the bot even goals or fires the gun itself.) Taking a look at his bigger Fb historical past, it appears possible that he merely slapped collectively a few issues he appreciated into a brand new toy.

“A canine named Skynet,” he writes (translated).
Picture through Fb

Why do I believe so? First, it’s clearly his: taking an in depth have a look at the high-res picture from Fb, you’ll be able to see the bot has a definite patch that includes a white wolf on its aspect — and above that, a phrase. The phrase is his final title: “Atamanov.”

An earlier pic of the bot, gun-less.
Picture through Fb

Additionally, in 2019, the Hoversurf founder posted a video of himself plinking away on the vary with a gun that appears almost equivalent to the one mounted on the bot — and with the very same patch on his shoulder. And in February 2022, a month earlier than he posted the dog-bot video, he additionally posted an image of himself taking part in with what seems to be the identical Unitree robotic, solely holding a espresso cup as a substitute of a gun.

Scrolling additional by way of his Fb web page, he appears to get pleasure from taking part in with army gear like APCs and assault helicopters, too. Should you add how impractical this specific gun-dog mixture appears — these sorts of robots are programmed to naturally carry out every kind of balanced motions and but this one doesn’t appear to be compensating for fundamental recoil — it appears way more possible he slapped a few his pursuits collectively, and fewer possible he’s severely purusing a weapon of conflict.

He additionally seems to get pleasure from different types of army {hardware}.
Picture through Fb

Then once more, certainly one of this man’s rivals within the flying rideable area occurs to be Kalashnikov, the corporate behind the AK-47…

Atamanov didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The dangerous information: A robotic canine with a gun is a factor that already exists.

I perceive if a video of a canine firing a completely computerized weapon sends a chill down your backbone. Nonetheless, a greater second to start worrying may need been final October, when an organization truly introduced a robotic canine with a gun that’s purpose-built for the duty.

Sorry to be the one to let you know…
Picture: Sword Worldwide

One other doable second: when it was revealed final September that Iran’s prime nuclear scientist was assassinated by a killer robotic that was distant managed by a sniper over 1,000 miles away.

Or final April, when the French military began testing Boston Dynamics’ robotic canine Spot in fight eventualities, admittedly with none apparent dog-mounted weaponry.

Or any of the occasions we’ve seen small robots with out canine legs — like, say, small drones — get outfitted with weaponry. The world’s step by step coming to the conclusion that the expertise actually does exist already to show robots into lethal weapons, and the actually scary thought is that they might start killing autonomously, in the event that they haven’t already begun. It appears virtually inevitable at this level, canine or no.

However there’s something significantly dastardly about man’s greatest good friend doubtlessly turning on us, I admit. Black Mirror explored that concept brilliantly virtually 5 years in the past, and each time we see a robodog getting a brand new skill like opening a door, it’s onerous for me to not think about how the horror film would possibly play out.

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