Robots without disguise

A friend of mine who’s very interested in science and fiction, let’s call him Paul, sent this video.

It’s refreshing to read that this innovation and technology was not conceived and raised in a Californian garage. It was developed by Boston Dynamics and funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency  (DARPA *).  According to Wikipedia;

DARPA’s original mission, established in 1958, was to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for its enemies……….DARPA looks beyond today’s known needs and requirements. As military historian John Chambers noted, “None of the most important weapons transforming warfare in the 20th century – the airplane, tank, radar, jet engine, helicopter, electronic computer, not even the atomic bomb – owed its initial development to a doctrinal requirement or request of the military.” And to this list, DARPA would add unmanned systems, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Internet technologies.

It is interesting to wonder if Google, Facebook and Twitter ‘revolutions’ would already have been possible without ARPANET or if FourSquare or DrawSomething would have yet been imagined. I’m only asking…

In thinking about where these developments are leading, like DARPA, we have to look beyond today’s requirements. It is perhaps worth noting the directions in which we have already looked in the past. It seems with development comes a bigger trove of development and with answers come substantially more questions. It is undeniable and declared in its name how Big Dog first came to be imagined. Without some spark to imagination nothing could be created.

It was only in around 1830 that ‘anthropomorphism’ [1] and ‘zoomorphism’ [2] were actually termed even though their practice has existed for longer than I can date.

Do these terms represent the source of the many hidden solutions of our progression?

These terms are observations of the phenomena where we look towards certain forms that a natural evolution has used as a solution to its problems and needs. Whether the natural form is of design or necessity is a contentious question. However the consistent adoption of technologies that could be described as anthropomorphic or zoomorphic does suggest that nature and designers (and DARPA) are satisfying and fulfilling constraints decreed by a deeper universal architectural requirement.

(*)  DARPA was renamed in 1972 from ARPA which was established in 1958).
[1] Anthropomorphims is the attribution of human form or behaviour to a deity, animal, etc.
[2] Zoomorphism is the conception or representation of deities in the form of animals.


One thought on “Robots without disguise

  1. ……. rhythms apparent to the eye and clear in their relations with one another. And these rhythms are at the very root of human activities. They resound in Man by an organic inevitability, the same fine inevitability which causes the tracing out of the Golden Section by children, old men, savages, and the learned

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