How far should we go with robots?  

How far should we go with robots?  

Robots. We heard so much about them… then we were so disappointed that some of us (me!) stopped following. But the progress is dazzling and we can no longer ignore them today!

Boston dynamics’ robots  

I was listening to this Lex Fridman podcast yesterday interviewing the CEO of Boston Dynamics and several things struck me.

The first is that most people who are not “in the know” if I dare say, have never heard of this company which is the leader in robotics, especially military. Or maybe they have not followed the frightening advances of the latest robots… and I include myself in this category!

When you don’t follow, you don’t really know what’s going on and yet it’s quite scary…
Look at what this Atlas robot can already do for example.

Secondo, I observed in me a shared feeling. On the one hand, I find it fascinating, on a creative and technological level and on the possibilities that open up to us for the future.

On the other hand, I ask myself the question like many: is it really a good idea to go so far? Replacing humans to go to dangerous places or do repetitive tasks, ok… but making them soldiers… how many sci-fi movies does it take to fear the worst with armies of robots?


Something else struck me: their mindset and approach to achieving this result, where many other start-ups and robotics companies have failed.

Obviously, there are the investors, the entrepreneurial vision, the talent of the company’s managers, but there is something else:
The Love for problem solving and long term vision. 

The CEO of Boston Dynamics constantly repeats that they wanted to solve this or that problem. And each break down into several other problems.

They focused on very specific things: displacement, then autonomy at first. Then noise, then speed with their prototype Cheetah, then balance, the ability to rebalance etc.
They even put stones on the ground and made the robots walk on them to learn how to manage their balance.

Said like that, it sounds simple, but each of these challenges is already significant. But they didn’t want to rush in and create an perfect robot too quickly from scratch, go mainstream, or even cut costs at all costs.

“One problem after another, we will create robots for different practical purposes”. That’s what I took from what he said.

Even if you are against robotics or their approach bothers you, I think we can take inspiration from this way of moving forward.

How often do we favor the short term, profits, and lack patience? Boston Dynamics shows us that problems don’t have to be a bad thing. On the contrary, solving them can be fun and allows us to create something remarkable, for better or for worse.


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