FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr railed Robodogs on Twitter this week, quoting apocalyptic science fiction films and television before finally hinting – though we’re honestly still not sure – that he might just be about the whole Thing had been joking.
“I’ve seen ‘Terminator’, I’ve seen ‘I, Robot’,” he said sent, along with a video of a Boston Dynamics spot robodog. “I know how this ends.”
“So I am proposing a new rule here,” he continued. “If you are [sic] The robot dog is too big to knock over in an emergency, it is forbidden. “
As one of the most influential tech officials in the country, Carr’s remarks raised an eyebrow. And he didn’t stop there repeatedly hammering his deep references Watching Terminator, a 1984 film in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a killer robot with a silly accent.
“Look, if ‘Terminator’ doesn’t qualify me to propose that rule, then watching ‘I, Robot’ surely will,” he said shot back In response to the criticism, he speculated that “Your account may be a burner account for a robot dog that has become sentient. In this case, that’s reason enough to accelerate the rule-making process. “
He soon caught the attention of Brendan Schulman, VP Policy and Government Relations at Boston Dynamics, who appeared to be taking his remarks seriously.
“Commissioner Carr, our robot’s top speed is 3.6 miles per hour (you can easily overtake it) and the round red button on the back immediately deactivates its motors,” he said wrote. “I look forward to an informative conversation about any concerns.”
But Carr got none of it, and relied on yet another science fiction franchise to demonstrate the danger of slow adversaries.
“In ‘Walking Dead’ the zombies don’t move very fast either,” he said answered. “You go – it’s right in the title. But do you notice that they are always on your heels anyway? The speed limit is cold comfort. “
All of this, of course, begs the question of whether Carr was just, well, posting shit. The various tweets also began around 8 p.m. and ended in the early hours of the morning after midnight, which opened up the possibility that not everyone involved was completely sober.
Or maybe the tweets were tongue-in-cheek allusions to real concern. Experts were alarmed earlier this month when Ghost Robotics, a competitor to Boston Dynamics, attached a sniper rifle to a Robodog.
“This crosses a moral, legal and technical boundary and leads us into a dark and dangerous world,” said Toby Walsh, the AI professor at UNSW Sydney. “Such weapons are used by terrorists and rogue states. They will be weapons of terrorism. “
Meanwhile, Carr’s further attempts to tackle the tweetstorm still haven’t helped us figure out if or to what extent he was joking.
“Seriously, if someone comes out with ‘The Conservative Case Against Kicking Over Robot Dogs’, I don’t have it,” he tweeted the next day. “There is nothing more conservative than trying to maintain our existence.”
To round off the entire segment, Carr appeared to address the dispute days later in a now pinned tweet that we honestly still can’t quite decipher.
“In hindsight, the suggestion to codify a robot dog overturning rule based on science fiction movies may not have been the best advice,” he said wrote. “Here’s a better idea: just dress in satire and * shazam * neither the robot dogs nor their defenders see you when the apocalypse comes.”
Another headache. Folks, these are the people who run the United States government.
More about Robodogs: Oh, they buckled up a sniper rifle on a robot dog
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