Google’s humanoid robot, Atlas, finds new ways to amaze us with each update. In its latest lesson, Atlas learned how to walk over uneven terrain. Over a series of trial-and-error sessions, engineers managed to teach Atlas a skill that few robots, and even fewer humans, have mastered: walking over obstacles without falling on your face.
To accomplish this using human-like feet, the team trained Atlas to ‘feel’ for a point on an uneven surface and to begin shifting its weight accordingly to avoid toppling over once committing to a foothold.
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It’s essentially the same way humans do it, although some are better at it than others. Unlike humans, robots will eventually master the task by making thousands of split-second calculations and fine-tuning each movement to move over this type of terrain with the ease of a mountain goat.
Humans, well, not so much.
I’m not saying robots will ever reach a point of self-awareness and turn on their human overlords; but when it happens, it’s Atlas we all need to worry about. I mean, look at the abuse this poor guy has suffered at the hands of his captors.
In the name of science, he’s been pushed, prodded, and bullied; it’s doubtful that a robot shrink is going to effectively manage those types of issues.
Now that Atlas can chase us down, even over rough terrain, no one is safe. It’s a good time to start formulating an escape plan. You know, just in case.