This Boston Dynamics Designed Robot Is One Step Closer To Learning Karate

By Brent McKnight | Updated

In science fiction it’s a rather well established fact that robots and artificial intelligence are going to take over the world and either wipe us off the face of the Earth or enslave us and use us for some nefarious purposes. Those evil bastards. And now, as you can see in this video, they can do karate, or at least a damn fine impression of the crane technique from Karate Kid. The balance is impressive. And terrifying. But no robot will ever replace Ralph Macchio.

Just a heads up, there’s a super shrill, obnoxious mechanical whine in the background of this footage, so you might want to watch it with the sound off, or at least pre-turn it down. This guy is not particularly stealthy, at least not yet, and isn’t going to be sneaking up on anyone anytime soon.

As is usually the case in situations where we talk about robots that may possibly spell the downfall of the human race, DARPA has a hand in this project. We’ve discussed Atlas numerous times before. He’s the 6-foot-tall, 330-pound humanoid droid that is gradually becoming something that resembles Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 from the Terminator movies, or at least a precursor that. Shhh, no none tell Skynet about this.

This Boston Dynamics engineered incarnation of Atlas may not appear all that impressive when taken on its own (okay, it is actually still pretty damn remarkable, I don’t think I could hold that pose for anywhere near that long), but when compared to this video, published almost exactly a year ago, you can see the drastic improvement. This video shows Atlas getting tripped up by some minor debris and toppling over. This new, upgraded version has obviously made some great strides in this realm.

So we will no longer be able to defeat this particular robot villain with strategically places piles of garbage. Now we’ll have to work on sneaking up—but not too quietly yet, due to the noise—and shoving Atlas off of his pillar. But we may have to get ready for more developments, because if he can do the crane technique, can wax-on-wax-off or sanding be far behind?

If you’re not already, you may want to stockpile canned food, heavy weapons, and EMP devices in that secret underground bunker that you made in your backyard and that you tell the kids doesn’t exist. Unless you’re one of those inevitable sellouts who will welcome the new robot overlords with open arms and help doom your entire species to a future where of force labor or life as living batteries.

This may very well be a vision of our future.