Atlas is a classic case of technology outstripping utility. He’s designed to mimic a human being’s movements, but not to do anything useful that a human might do.
One of Atlas’s UnHuman Resource issues is that he’s not a self-starter. He needs a very-human handler to control him with a laptop, a joystick, and a wireless radio. He’s also clumsy, according to the New York Times. In a recent demonstration he stumbled to the floor several times and crashed headlong into a pylon. But given how quickly robotic technology is advancing, his deficiencies are unlikely to be anything other than growing pains. I wouldn’t be surprised if, like many humans seeking to enter the work force for the first time and lacking a saleable skill set, he ends up in the military.
The immediate future in robotics appears to be highly specialized, single-task applications. Flippy, Miso Robotic’s hamburger-making robot, (more…)