Skip to navigationSkip to content

Dogs are on our side in the fight against the robot uprising

"Attack mode."
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

This post has been updated. 

When the robots take over, after being knocked around one too many times, it’s good to know that man’s best friend will apparently stand bravely at our sides to ward off the impending revolution.

Cosmo, a terrier reportedly owned by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, recently encountered Spot, a massive dog-shaped robot made by Boston Dynamics, according to IEEE Spectrum. And it seems he was not particularly happy with what he saw, barking at Spot and running in circles around the robot dog.

Rubin previously ran Google’s robotics division before leaving the company after nearly a decade in 2014. Boston Dynamics is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, so it’s easy to see how Rubin may have set up this situation—presumably he still has a few friends there—but the reason why he has is uncertain.

Flickr/Steve Jurveston/CC BY 2.0
Cosmo and Spot.

The video was shot by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson who told IEEE that this Spot was the only one currently not being used by the US military, which is testing the robot dog for its reconnaissance potential. But Juvertson didn’t explain why Cosmo had been pitted against Spot. He did say that he was impressed by the robot’s “lifelike movement,” however. “And the tradition of the uncanny valley continues… To the un-canine valley,” he added.

Quartz reached out to Boston Dynamics for more information on why this nature-versus-machine encounter took place and has yet to hear back. But perhaps it was just training for the day that Google’s AI research becomes self-aware and takes control of Boston Dynamics’ robot army. As has been the case for centuries, actual dogs may well be our first line of defense.

Update 2:50 pm: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Andy Rubin’s dog is named Alex. His dog’s name is Cosmo, according to a representative for Rubin’s venture capital firm, Playground. They wouldn’t tell us, however, how he, his dog, and a giant robot got into that parking lot, though.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.