Spot Moves Like Mick Jagger
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 31 October 2021

Boston Dynamics has come up with some unlikely collaborators - none other than Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones.  Can the "Spot Me Up Video" promote a positive and playful image for Spot and robots in general?



The video was made to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Rolling Stones iconic album Tatoo You which made its debut in 1981. The album itself has been remastered and reissued complete with nine previously unreleased tracks, making it a must for Stones fans of all ages. The tribute video has the original 1981 video of "Start Me Up" in the left pane of a split screen. The sequence starts with a single Spot cloning the moves made by Mick Jagger and apparently "singing along". Later two other Spots join in.

We've seen Spot showcase its dance moves in the past, but this time the trio of Spot also employ their head hands to "lip-sync" with the lyrics.

Personally I find the display entertaining and nostalgic, but in its report of the video Rolling Stone Magazine refers to the "somewhat-terrifying robots" - not the reaction that Boston Robotics would be hoping for.

Spot is having a hard time finding a niche in which it can really shine and the problem is in the way humans react to it. At best they find Spot "creepy" but, much worse, it is seen as being "menacing" and "alienating".

It was poor public relations that led NYPD, the New York Police Department, to prematurely cancel a contract worth roughly $94,000 to lease the Spot in order to test out its capabilities. There were a couple of success stories when Digidog, the name given to it by NYPD, helped out in a hostage situation and in a shooting incident but, according to the New York Times, when it was deployed in April in a public housing building in Manhattan:

a backlash erupted, with some people describing the device as emblematic of how overly aggressive the police can be when dealing with poor communities. 

As a result the lease, which had been scheduled to end in August, was curtailed and Digidog was returned to Boston Dynamics.

Hopefully Spot will soon start to gain recognition for its ability to help humans by undertaking tasks that are too dangerous, too onerous, or simply too tedious for any of us to volunteer, rather than for its ability to entertain, impressive though it might be.



More Information

Watch Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dogs Recreate Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’ Video

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 31 October 2021 )