The American robotics company Boston Dynamics has released a tribute to The Rolling Stones’ iconic music video for their 1981 hit “Start Me Up,” with band members replaced by its quadrupedal Spot robots.
The tribute – released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the track and the album Tattoo You – features the original 1981 video alongside the Spot robots. In the video entitled ‘Spot Me Up,’ the robots mimic each of the band members’ actions in perfect sync, including Mick Jagger’s dance moves. In addition to recreating the moves of their human counterparts with an impressive amount of detail and swagger, the robots also “sing,” but here is a detail: what appears to be a mouth is actually a manipulator, an arm used to handle objects and open doors.
This video is both a demonstration of Spot’s impressive mobility and of Boston Dynamics‘ ongoing desire to make its robots seem fun.
It’s not the first time Boston Dynamics has used music to promote its machines. Recently seven Spots appeared on video singing and dancing to BTS’s “IONIQ: I’m On It.” At the end of 2020, the company released a video where two Atlas, their humanoid robots, a Spot, and a Handle, danced together for the first time to the classic song “Do You Love Me” in celebration of the New Year.
And if you fear the machine revolution, it may be comforting to know that Boston Dynamics promises never to put weapons on its robots nor allow its customers to do so. However, this does not exclude their use in police and military operations, where they can be used as “scouts” to investigate a location or to defuse traps without humans having to take risks. The company seems more interested in selling its robots to business customers as tools to survey and inspect factories, power plants, mines, and the like.