Why are people kicking this robot dog?
Google has created a robotic dog, and it wants you to kick it.
“Spot” is a four-legged robot designed by Boston Dynamics, a military robotics company that Google bought in 2013. Boston Dynamics says that Spot is a 160 lbs, battery-powered robot designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. It can scale stairs and navigate rough terrain.
But Spot’s defining feature is that it is remarkably difficult to knock over.
In a YouTube video, several Boston Dynamics employees can be seen giving the robotic puppy swift kicks to the side — gleefully smiling while the robot catches its balance.
Other than the bunch of spinning sensors on its head to help it navigate around, Spot is remarkably dog-like. That’s probably why the video is so difficult to watch, especially if you’re a dog lover.
PETA hasn’t yet weighed in, but people on Reddit declared that the Google video was “rude.”
“I know it’s not sentient, but I’d have a twinge of guilt after kicking it,” said Reddit user euratowel.
The video also shows Spot easily walking up and down rocky hills and stairs. The robot engineers even dressed one “Spot” as a reindeer.
Boston Dynamics has built a strong reputation for its heavy-duty robots that can run faster than Usain Bolt, climb walls like a gecko and jump as high as 30 feet. It works with the U.S. military to develop advanced robots and has close ties with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on what Spot will be used for — or whether kicking a robotic puppy is “inhumane.”