John Jason Fallows

Robotics firm Boston Dynamics is showing off its latest creation: A robotic dog that can open doors.

In a video posted by Boston Dynamics, the company’s SpotMini robot is seen struggling to get past a locked door — until another SpotMini shows up with a special arm that opens the door. The second robot then holds the door open for its robotic buddy. It isn’t clear if the robots are acting autonomously or if someone’s controlling their movements behind the scenes.

Boston Dynamics’ videos never fail to impress — or to terrify, depending on your views of robotics and artificial intelligence. The company’s creations may have been the inspiration behind a recent episode of the dystopian sci-fi series Black Mirror in which robotic dogs set out to kill all living things. But robots like the kind Boston Dynamics makes can have real-world benefits, like the ability to find people stranded in the rubble after an earthquake.

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank purchased Boston Dynamics from Google parent company Alphabet in 2017 for an undisclosed sum.

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