Rapid advances in robotics have resulted in the recent creation of some automatons with uncannily human-like characteristics. Their similarities to us can be unsettling; the unfamiliar acting with familiarity naturally unnerves us. This is also true however of robots that turn out to not in fact be robots, but an adult man in a robot costume pretending to act like a robot, they will also be quite unsettling.
Well, this is bizarrely a situation that has arisen at a technology conference in Russia, where it was revealed that a 'hi-tech' robot being debuted on stage was simply a man dressed in a robot costume. The robot, named 'Robot Boris' - which is perhaps the only unsurprising thing about this story - raised some eyebrows due to its questionable dancing and the fact that it looked to be exactly the right size and shape to secret a person inside its tacky plastic exterior.
На молодежном форуме в Ярославле чувака нарядили в «робота Бориса». Танцевать его уже научили.
Вот это прорыв. Вот это я понимаю.. pic.twitter.com/mIo07Wvmjp
— Советский! (@Soviet_flag) December 12, 2018
A photo, which can be seen here, was posted on the conference's website showing the man inside the costume.
Despite this however the robot was reported by Russian state television as being a legitimate robot, that in no way had person contained within it. However, the organisers of the Pryektoria technology forum - where Robot Boris made his stage and dance debut - said that they at no point claimed that it was an actual robot.
Despite initially reporting it as such, with one of the reporters saying that, "at the forum they [students] have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots," they later issued an apology for the erroneous report.
Regardless of this, the video itself is a thing of beauty and any opportunity to watch an auditorium full of people awkwardly dancing along with a man disguised as, and pretending to be, a robot, is to be savoured.