It turns out that humans aren't the only ones who should be concerned about robots stealing their jobs. As Boston Dynamics recently showed in this holiday video card, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen should be nervous as well.
The robotics firm, acquired by Google in 2013, has released a video featuring reindeer that look like something straight out of James Cameron's "Terminator" franchise. Indeed, these are no ordinary sleigh-pulling robots, but super-advanced, four-legged bots that can not only navigate difficult terrain, but also stay upright if violently kicked.
The robot, named Spot, is of particular interest to the U.S. military.
“I think a robot like Spot has tons of opportunities [Marines] could use it for, like scouting or load carriage,” DARPA roboticist Ben Swilling told IGN in September. “Robots can’t get shot and they can’t die. If you need to send someone into danger’s way, you don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
In addition to Spot, Boston Dynamics also has a dog-bot that can throw a cinderblock up to 15 feet away, another that can sprint up to 28 mph, and something called the Sand Flea that can boost itself two stories off the ground and onto the roof of buildings. Naturally, it's only a matter of time before they be able to fly too.
Be afraid, Prancer and Co. Be very afraid.