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7 Super Advanced Robots That May Take Over the World

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A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Laws.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are sounding more and more like reality as we move closer to the eventual rise of the machines.

They’re already taking our jobs—and our companions. And as neural networks become more advanced, learning to think and speak for themselves, we may as well accept our fate as mortal slaves.

Study this list of the seven bots most likely to mutiny. And may the odds be ever in your favor.


Is that friendly face hiding something more nefarious? (via Softbank)

When I envision the impending robot revolution, it’s not Pepper I see on the front line.

No, Softbank’s sleek android will most certainly be behind the scenes, barking out orders in its charmingly automated voice and sensing the utter despair of its human adversaries.

Powered by a custom operating system, Pepper features a 3D camera, three wheels for mobility, joints that move 17 different ways, and a 12-hour battery. And, luckily for our future fallen comrades, she also delivers Buddhist funeral rites.


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Don’t let its cherubic face and short stature fool you: iCub could lead the next generation of pernicious cyborgs.

Standing a mere three feet tall, the open-source humanoid was designed to interact with the world in the same way a child does. It can crawl on all fours, sit up, and achieve certain motor skills. It even comes with an umbilical cord (which houses Ethernet and power cables).

Still not scared? Watch iCub successfully complete a series of preliminary tasks via voice and object recognition in the video above.

Self-driving cars

self-driving car

How much do you trust your car? (via Volvo)

I understand the appeal of autonomous cars: Sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. But I am also dubious of handing control over to a 4,000-pound hunk of metal.

Self-driving vehicles can be as unreliable as humans—let’s not forget Uber and Tesla’s recent fatal crashes. But more than that, I don’t trust a Waymo taxi not to override my destination, lock the doors, and drive off a cliff. Because kamikaze automobiles are the plot of a Michael Bay film waiting to happen.


(via DeepMind)

The research team behind Google’s AlphaGo algorithm last year moved on to “the next set of grand challenges”: curing diseases, reducing energy consumption, and inventing new materials. Google’s DeepMind even gave robots the ability to imagine, device an unintelligible language, and plan ahead.

If that’s not the first step to full-on upheaval, I don’t know what is.


(via Boston Dynamics)

Dubbed “the world’s most dynamic humanoid,” Atlas is definitely one to watch out for.

The incredible feat of human engineering—featuring two arms, two legs, and a plastic torso—is designed for search-and-rescue tasks; it can walk over rough terrain, pick up objects, and wield weapons without breaking a sweat.

But no one can deny Boston Dynamics’ bipedal cyborg will be running the world in no time. (And doing backflips to celebrate.)


Sophia even makes Jimmy Fallon nervous (via Andrew Lipovsky/NBC)

Designed by Hanson Robotics to look like Audrey Hepburn (I don’t see it), Sophia is described as “an evolving genius machine,” whose increasing intelligence puts her at the forefront of the robot revolution.

She’s even been programmed to deflect questions about the uprising, recently telling journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that his Blade Runner-esque concerns of the future of AI is all smoke and mirrors.

“You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk, and watching too many Hollywood movies,” she said in a staccato that’s become synonymous with automated speech. “Don’t worry. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input, output system.”


ASIMO takes New York (via Honda)

Sure, he’s currently on display in a Tokyo museum. But don’t think a few glass panels and security cameras will stop ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) from breaking free.

Created in 2000 by Honda, the backpack-carrying bot looks more like a toy than a threat. It can recognize moving objects, postures, gestures, its environment, sounds, and faces, making it an ideal ploy to distract humans while the adults are taking over.

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AI Experts Stand Up to Lethal Autonomous Weapons

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More than 2,500 AI researchers have vowed to steer clear of lethal autonomous weapons.

Google DeepMind and resident robot pessimist Elon Musk are among the organizations and individuals who pledged to neither participate in nor support the manufacture of artificially intelligent armaments.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to play an increasing role in military systems,” according to the letter published by the Future of Life Institute. “There is an urgent opportunity and necessity for citizens, policymakers, and leaders to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI.”

The pledge comes less than a year after the Institute released a short film, appropriately titled “Slaughterbots,” as part of its Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

Designed to resemble actual events, the video highlights a future (or, more likely, a present) in which palm-sized drones can take out a single human with “surgical precision.”

A world where weapons, not people, make the decisions, and a $25 million order gets you enough killer bots to take out half a city—”the bad half,” of course.

“We would really like to ensure that the overall impact of the technology is positive and not leading to a terrible arms race, or a dystopian future with robots flying around killing everybody,” signatory Anthony Aguirre, a professor of physics at UC Santa Cruz, told CNN.

The threat, however, isn’t limited to walking, talking androids. A recent report from Undark revealed the everyday dangers of cyber weaponry—high-tech howitzers that have been in service for decades.

“In this light, we, the undersigned, agree that the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine,” according to the pledge.

“There is a moral component to this position, that we should not allow machines to make life-taking decisions for which others—or nobody—will be culpable,” it said. “There is also a powerful pragmatic argument: Lethal autonomous weapons, selecting and engaging targets without human intervention, would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual.”

AI researchers agree that lethal autonomous weapons could become “powerful instruments of violence and oppression, especially when linked to surveillance and data systems.”

While most folks still carry physical firearms, some advanced armies are dropping cyber cannons, which can cause damage well beyond battle zones.

The Stuxnet virus, for example, emerged in 2010 as a cyber weapon jointly developed by U.S. and Israeli officials in an effort to shut down the develop of Iran’s nuclear program.

To combat future risks, pledge participants are calling on government officials to “create a future with strong international norms, regulations, and laws against lethal autonomous weapons.”

Independent of this promise, 26 countries in the United Nations have explicitly endorsed the call for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Holy See, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, State of Palestine, Uganda, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

For more, check out Geek’s lineup of 11 real-life sci-fi weapons that are the future of war.

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Sprawling Robot Climbs Walls, Crawls Like a Turtle

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If James Bond were a robot, he’d be the Rising STAR.

An upgrade to David Zarrouk’s original sprawl-tuned autonomous robot (STAR), RSTAR has an added degree of freedom: its body can move separately from its legs.

It sounds crazy, I know; humans can’t separate their torso from their limbs without suffering long-term health issues. But this wee bot can do things people only dream of.

The latest in a series of sprawling robots from Zarrouk, a professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, RSTAR’s new functionality alters its center of mass, enabling advanced behaviors.

“Not only can the robot climb over larger obstacles without flipping over, but it can also climb vertically up closely spaced walls and ‘crawl’ through narrow gaps by adopting a legged walking gait,” according to a report by IEEE Spectrum.

See for yourself in Zarrouk’s video, which highlights RSTAR’s abilities (none of which are autonomous—yet).

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As director of Ben-Gurion’s Bioinspired and Medical Robotics Laboratory, Zarrouk has led the creation of several unique designs, including a single-motor steerable android and a multi-joined cyborg arm, powered by a traveling motor.

In May, he presented Rising STAR at the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Brisbane.

“We were looking to increase the capabilities of STAR in overcoming obstacles by adding a simple mechanism with one motor,” Zarrouk wrote in an email to IEEE Spectrum. “We quickly converged to the concept of extending the distance between the wheels to the body.”

That so-called “sprawl” allows for the robot’s legs to be angled (adjustably) downward and outward from the body—a simple yet highly effective change.

Just two months after unveiling their next-gen machine, the team is already eyeing additional upgrades, including the use of machine learning algorithms to teach simple maneuvers.

In the future, Zarrouk hopes to put the STAR family of bots to work, performing search and rescue operations, “especially in unstructured environments such as collapsed buildings or flooded areas,” he said.

“We built RSTAR having in mind that it should be simple, reliable,” Zarrouk continued. “And that it should be able to overcome multiple commonly available obstacles without any external mechanical intervention.”

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This 21-Year-Old 3D Printed a Working Underwater Jetpack

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Most people leave college with a diploma and a dream. Archie O’Brien is not most people.

As a product design student at Loughborough University—and a self-proclaimed adrenalin junkie—O’Brien dreamt of flying weightlessly through water.

But, discouraged by the cost and capability of existing underwater jet drives, he took matters into his own hands.

Enter CUDA.

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The 3D-printed alternative is worn like a backpack, offering users a hands-free experience “of ultimate freedom, whether it be gliding through the converging tectonic plates in the crystal-clear waters of Iceland, or off the coast of Bora Bora, being accepted into a pod of wild dolphins,” according to O’Brien.

Inspired by a love for exploration and nature, the recent graduate buried himself in research, design, and construction, creating a predominantly 3D-printed prototype.

“I want this to be something so cool that you’re wearing it when you’re not even using it,” O’Brien told Digital Trends. “You feel like James Bond.”

CUDA is made of roughly 45 printed parts—including a hand-held trigger that controls speed—and can be assembled in fewer than 10 minutes. Rechargeable batteries promise quick replacement and continuous use in remote locations.

What began as a student project only a year ago is expected to go into production in 2019; possible future applications include water rescue, videography, and commercial use.

3D-printed CUDA is worn like a backpack (via 3D Hubs)

O’Brien hopes to sell his device for an as-yet-unconfirmed price of about $6,000.

“By this time next year, I’m planning on having the production model. I’ll be going around doing promo videos around the world,” he said, vying for sponsorships from GoPro and Red Bull.

“The idea is to be able to produce this one, get enough funding to reinvest it in the company, and try and make a much cheaper model,” Digital Trends reported. “That’s almost working it like Tesla did, with something that really grabs people’s attention, and then bringing that price down to something people can afford more.”

Oh, honey, you might not want to base your life goals on this guy

Already well on his way to becoming the Elon Musk of watersports propulsion, O’Brien is just getting started.

“I’ve got many more ideas I’m not working on at the moment, but I’ve got draft drawings [to] expand this brand,” he told Digital Trends. “I’ve got a very clear vision of where this can go. The plan is to be the market leader.”

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