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Stop Robot Abuse (stoprobotabuse.com)
91 points by agonzalezro on Feb 25, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

This is is supposed to be a feel-good public relations campaign to enhance Google aubsidiary Boston Dynamics' reputation. The reason they need to do that is because one day these machines will be used against humans. They will oppress and they will kill. Unfortunately science fiction has made it almost impossible for people to consider this issue with the gravity it requires.


Yes, that's exactly it. When I see these videos, I am terrified.

I (and I don't think you) are saying that there's really someone sitting in an office thinking "We need to make people happy with these robots so people forget how they will be used"... actually wait, nevermind, while that clear thinking wouldn't be neccesary, I think there probably IS someone thinking exactly that. They know they're going to be used for police/military purposes (the research is funded by DoD, and they're already busy marketting them to their likely best customers), and they know not to show that in their PR videos.

Whoever made this funny web page, they made it with videos released by or in collaboration with the PR people for the companies making these weapons (and that is indeed what they are), and they do know what they are doing.

Not sure if you're serious or not, but the domain is owned by Jelmer Tiete, who doesn't appear to have any affiliation with Boston Dynamics. He works at beyond.io, which on their homepage says they "make things that make you smile". I think he did just that.

The website is pretty obviously made to sell tshirts. It's already made a few hundred dollars by the looks of it.

It's come full circle from the time of Old Glory Robot Insurance -- now robots need insurance against human attacks!


Sam Waterston would be turning in his grave, if only he were dead and buried.

There could be a much-much worse scenario: we will not figure out AI within this generation, and dying by the manipulators of a robot will stay just a dream.

> dying by the manipulators of a robot will stay just a dream.

People are already killed by operators of flying robots.

I suppose, but if you count 'pointing a rocket at something' then we've been dying to flying robots since WWII.

Relevant (on both counts: killer robots and science-fiction):


I think they're just trying to sell t-shirts, but I do agree that these will be the robots to destroy us.

This one is disgusting http://stoprobotabuse.com/images/gif9.mp4

He's patting the robot, not pushing him. See? This is all that's wrong with robot-rights activists. They take everything personally and try to manipulate public opinion (whether intentionally or subconsciously, seeing harm where there isn't).

In fact I think the robot is knowingly feigning to get the human punished. I'd totally sue him.

That robot would make a good pro footballer.

you'd lose the case, on the left it says "stable when pushing"

But is the website being served by a computer that is essentially a robot in servitude?

The hypocrisy is eye-watering.

And won't someone spare a thought for all the routers and switches and shackled nodes that the data had to pass through to reach your screen.

Nah, single-task switches and servers are more like electronic plants/fungi than electronic animals.

To be serious: insofar as these robots reorder their subgoals to avoid "pain", PETA might really care one day, at least as much as they care about, say, jellyfish or coral, which are by all measures less sensate. But even under that kind of expanded criterion, an HTTP daemon that just goes on executing to send you a webpage whether its CPU is at 0% or 100% load doesn't qualify.

(On the other hand, one might consider such units as "cells" in a greater being; if that greater being is a system architecture with health-checks and load-balancers and so forth, then it could express goal-orientation, pain avoidance, etc., even though its subcomponents do not.)

Back in 2003 at the Stupid Fun Club, I helped Will Wright make these hidden camera one minute movies about robots roaming the streets and restaurants of Oakland and having their feelings hurt:

Empathy: http://www.donhopkins.com/home/RobotMovies/Empathy.mpg

Servitude: http://www.donhopkins.com/home/RobotMovies/Servitude.mpg

One Minute Movies: http://www.allentownproductions.com/project.php?p=nbc

Edit: oops, fixed the mpg links -- sorry!

The idea behind those videos is brilliant, and in 2015, you would no longer need the backing of a major television network to get viewers or revenue. (It would help, though.)

I'd like to see one with an obsolete 2004 model Asimo, panhandling for "spare charge" from passers-by's cell phone batteries.

404 on those first two links, I'm afraid.

Oops sorry! Fixed the links.

This is Slats, the robot waiter, roaming the streets of Berkeley:




After a short and unsuccessful career as a waiter, Slats eventually decided that his one true goal in life was to reproduce himself.

So we took him out in public around Berkeley, and shot some video of Slats attempting to seduce men and women off the street.

It was kind of like Speed Dating meets Demon Seed: he tried to talk people into giving him their eggs and sperm, because he needed their genetic material to reproduce himself.

The results of our research: It turns out to be a lot easier for a robot to talk a man out of his sperm, than to talk a woman out of her eggs.

Back in the pre-civil-robot-rights era, I committed various such acts, such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCEZhxFa8Bk

He's certainly physically stable, but is he mentally stable?

I gotta say, I find those four-legged robots terrifying, because I know the first use of them is going to be for police/military/security-forces to use them to attack us.

More like as robotic pack mules. Or search and rescue. I doubt that sticking some guns on them is gonna be the most effective use.

They don't need guns to be used to attack, any more than actual live dogs do. They've got significantly more weapon choices (in addition to themselves) than live dogs though, not limited to ordinary firearms. (tasers? mortar of some kind? Something they'll invent just for it?)

Indeed they are talking about them for cargo and search and rescue. It's a lot less scary to talk about that. We could make a pool on how long it'll take until they are talking about them as "crowd control" or military 'neutralization'. I'd say 5 years would be generous.

I'm just saying, if they want to use a robot to attack you, they have a lot better option then these. The basic design heavily supports cargo/search and rescue. They aren't gonna use them as killbots, when they grossly underperform and outcost other lethal/nonlethal options. As a pack mule? Not gonna get shot at or damaged, and performs the job as good or better as an animal. As search and rescue? Can go into unstable/dangerous areas without a cost of human life, plus can probably outperform in some basic aspects in terms of sensing/strength/stability. For killing? Not like we don't have 10,000 other ways of killing or stopping people that don't outperform it and still carry little risk to humans.

Disgusting. What's next, letting them vote?

Or worse, letting them get married. The Republicans have warned us this would happen.

Worse. You'll probably be forced to marry to dog-robot of the same sex as you. This slippery slope is so steep!

Not the start of another politically correct movement! I got up from my desk and kicked our R2 unit, just because...

I feel like a this is a recipe for making some serious spare change: good idea + good design skills + site that sells T-shirts. I remember reading about the person who set up the "I survived the Snowpocalipse" T-shirt site a couple of years back and made a decent amount of money off it.

Does that include bio robots? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mXI4WWhPn-U

meh, call me when you get Sarah McLachlan to sing over it.

This is another example of where great copy is what really matters on the web. I love it.

Seriously though, stop animal abuse. That includes yelling at your pets. They're not robots and they don't speak english. It really bothers me when people who bring animals into the workplace treat them badly.

Some people actually draw parallels between robot abuse and animal abuse, for reasons I do not know. And some of them take robot abuse seriously, as a proxy for animal or people abuse.

We wholeheartedly support this cause at Diffbot! http://www.diffbot.com/robots.txt

Just wait until the DeepMind section of Google starts to watch the Boston Dynamics videos. What will happen when Google's AI knows that Google employees kick and smack other Google robots around?

Sure, it's a silly example right now in 2015, but just wait until 2020 when the examples won't be silly at all. This is a real fear - I think it's almost a certainty that there will be hundreds of videos showing violence against robots posted online. And this could very well be the reason that the robots decide to rise up against us.

Sure, not the 2015 "Spot". But just wait.

Page layout is broken on Firefox (paragraph wrapping the two shirt images is apparently missing style attributes).

The videos don't work (firefox on linux)

When they can experience happiness and suffering, that's when we should care. Animals apply, robots don't.


Although I find it interesting that in a future that probably won't happen, campaigns like this may become necessary. We're predicting our future moral failings, and using them as satire.

    float happiness;
there you go.

Is it weird that I kept expecting the robots to turn around and destroy?

Too much Doctor Who for me.

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