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That video of a robot getting beaten is fake, but feeling sorry for machines is no joke

The Verge Monday, 17 June 2019
You’ve probably already seen the video on social media. It’s an accomplished “parody” of clips published by engineering company Boston Dynamics, showing a CGI replica of the firm’s Atlas robot getting kicked, hit, and shot at, before turning the tables on its captors.

Maybe you saw the video and initially thought it was real. Maybe you even felt bad for the robot and angry at its tormentors. “Why are they hurting that poor machine?” asked many. “Sure, it can’t feel anything, but that doesn’t mean they can treat it like that.”

It’s a totally understandable reaction! But it’s also one that shows how much trouble we’re going to be in when robots like Atlas become a common sight on our streets.

Are machines really deserving of empathy? Do...
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