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Meet Atlas, the Parkour Robot Who Will Enslave Us All

These violent delights have violent ends.

Bad news, fellow meat bags. The robot apocalypse draws ever closer, as Boston Dynamics (the Delos of our time) has now trained their robot Atlas to do parkour. In the video above, you can see that Atlas has progressed from jogging/tripping face first over a box to scaling a bunch of crates like he’s a contestant on Nickelodeon’s GUTS.

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I, for one, am bitter. If humanity is going to die at the hands of these robots, can’t they at least have the decency to look like Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, or Thandie Newton? Is it too much to ask that we get some eye candy from our soon to be apocalyptic overlords?


In the video description, Boston Dynamics describes the software that is turning Atlas the Robot into an American Ninja Warrior. “The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace. (Step height 40 cm.) Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately.”

But what function will Atlas actually serve, other than replacing Matt Damon in future Jason Bourne movies? According to the Boston Dynamics website, “Atlas is the latest in a line of advanced humanoid robots we are developing. Atlas’ control system coordinates motions of the arms, torso and legs to achieve whole-body mobile manipulation, greatly expanding its reach and workspace. Atlas’ ability to balance while performing tasks allows it to work in a large volume while occupying only a small footprint.”

BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN THOUGH? There’s a lack of clarity in what Atlas will actually do for humanity: will he rescue people in situations too dangerous for humans? Will he be part of the larger movement to replace human workers with automatons? Or is he just here to get us to shut up about that four-legged robot that tripped over some banana peels. Well, in that case, I say NICE TRY Atlas, because I will never stop posting this video:

Until someone can explain to me what the function of this parkour robot is, I have no choice but to assume that it’s training to kill us all and wipe out humanity. Prove me wrong, Boston Dynamics, the ball is in your court!

(via Nerdist, image: screengrab)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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