Elon Musk is freaked out by the creepy backflipping robot

Elon Musk has repeatedly sounded the alarm against the rise of artificial intelligence as a threat to humanity. Now, the venerable tech exec has observed that Boston Dynamics' latest robot, which does backflips, is just the start of things to come.

"This is nothing," Musk wrote on Twitter, describing a video in which Boston Dynamics' latest robot does backflips in a warehouse. "In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…"

When asked why people would need strobe lights to see it, he responded: "Otherwise you’d only see a blur." It's unclear if Musk was taking inspiration from the recently released "Justice League" movie, in which The Flash, played by Ezra Miller, runs so fast, he is just a blur to the human eye.


According to research firm IDC, worldwide spending on robotics will top $188 billion by 2020, up from $91.5 billion in 2016, due in part to new use cases and acceptance in the marketplace.

"Innovators in the field of robotics are delivering robots that can be used to perform a broader range of tasks, which is helping to drive the adoption of robotics into a wider base of industries," said IDC Manufacturing Insights research manager John Santagate in a January statement.

Investment in artificial intelligence, which allows machines to perform tasks as well or better than humans, is expected to surgeduring the same time frame as well, IDC noted separately.

Earlier this month, Boston Dynamics, known for its terrifying-looking robots, released a new video of its humanoid robot. The new video shows the robot jumping from block to block and it eventually does a backflip, further casting a light on our robot-pocalypse future.


Musk, who has previously said artificial intelligence could be the cause of World War 3, has repeatedly asked for governments around the world to regulate artificial intelligence and robotics, much like society does with other sectors, such as food and drugs. He expressed his sentiments again on Sunday on Twitter.

"Got to regulate AI/robotics like we do food, drugs, aircraft & cars," Musk wrote. "Public risks require public oversight. Getting rid of the FAA wdn’t [SIC] make flying safer. They’re there for good reason."

Boston Dynamics, which Google sold to Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank earlier this year, has acknolwedged that its robots can cause fear, with its CEO, Marc Raibert, once making a joke about it in a presentation.

In February, Raibert showed off the wheeled version of one of its robots and described it as "nightmare-inducing."

"This is the debut presentation of what I think will be a nightmare-inducing robot if you're anything like me," Raibert was quoted as saying.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia