These Robots Make "Fails" Look Like "Wins"


Pop quiz, guys!  Can anyone tell me the Three Laws of Robotics according to Isaac Asimov? I have no doubts that you all were able to rattle out the three laws without hesitation, but have you heard of this competition that actually aims to break the Second and Third Laws of Robotics? I can hear you thinking “Now, that’s what I’m talking about!”

The competition is called Antimov Competition, and it was held last October 16 in Boulder, Colorado. The concept behind the competition is to create robots that complete trivial tasks “in the most inefficient and laborious way possible.” Additionally, the robots need to destroy themselves while completing the tasks.

For someone who absolutely loves watching the MythBusters blow things up or set things on fire, I had a lot of fun watching some of the videos sent in as entries. The event was actually held live, but many participants submitted video entries, partially due to fire restrictions. Here’s the video entry that bested all the others.

A robo-waiter setting things on fire, taking itself down as well – how can you go wrong? I envy the kid I kept hearing in the background! Now he probably wants a robot like that for his next birthday party!

Now here’s a video of the winning live entry.

Believe it or not, the people behind this winning entry are kids aged 13 and 11 – the children of the guy behind the flaming robo-waiter in the first video. Talk about passing on talent to your offspring!

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These robots may be “fails” in the eyes of Asimov, but judging by the reaction of the viewers (yours truly included), they are definitely “wins”! Definitely worthy of the Dept. of Awesomeness, don’t you think?

Oh, and just in case you need a refresher course on the Laws of Robotics, here:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
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