The theme of killer robots regularly comes to the fore. A video widely shared on social media shows a robot armed with a rifle. A robot that looks like Spot, a robot dog from Boston Dynamics, is equipped with a machine gun and shoots at targets in a snowy landscape. Videos of Boston Dynamics robots dancing and performing stunts seem far away.
Luckily, the robot doesn’t seem to be very good at aiming or handling weapon recoil. In the video, it is impossible to know if the robot is shooting itself or if it is a person outside the camera’s field of view who starts the shot. Even if this second option seems more likely. If the video doesn’t seem like a robot can do many things with weapons on its back, it’s a good reminder that these systems can be used for questionable purposes like killing people or waging war.
All the people who years ago made fun of “restless warts” for going crazy about funny dancing robot dogs ™ should be forced to watch this video once a day for the rest of the year. pic.twitter.com/WBIrlGah3w
— Sean Chiplock (@sonicmega) July 20, 2022
Russian robot shooter
The robot dog in the video appears to be a UnitreeYusu product that sells on AliExpress for around $3,000, according to Vice. But they’re not the only ones selling replicas of the famous Boston Dynamics robot. Logos are attached to the sides of the robot: on one side is the flag of Russia, and on the other is the head of a wolf. Vice adds that in another video from the channel that broadcast the video, a man is wearing a similar badge on his arm. This wolf head is usually a reference to Russian special operations forces or special forces.
But, Weiss adds, that doesn’t mean that SWAT is using the robot, as the badge can be bought very easily by anyone. Also, the weapon is also Russian, as it is likely the Vityaz-SN (or PP-19 Vityaz), a submachine gun inspired by the AK-74. Finally, the video shows a Russian BRDM-2 armored vehicle. The last element is mentioned by Vice: the video was first published at the end of March on the YouTube account of Alexander Atamov, who will become the founder of HOVERSURF.
What are the rules?
In addition to knowing who posted this video, this is an opportunity to once again open up a discussion about “killer robots” and deadly autonomous weapons. Boston Dynamics, which was acquired by Hyundai, said it does not want to sell its robots to people who want to use them as weapons. But Spot was seen training with French soldiers, and he came to join the ranks of the New York Police Department (NYPD), which finally got rid of him.
Faced with opposition from some countries, the UN cannot regulate the use of lethal autonomous weapons, usually defined as weapons that choose their own target and destroy it. Without human intervention. It should be remembered that the military industry, as a rule, receives significant funds to finance R&D. Many innovations come from the military and are then introduced into civilian life.