If you are on the internet daily, I’m sure you’ve read or heard about ChatGPT, Bing’s implementation of it, or the different ways artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to replace humans in many tasks.
But, what about dogs? Boston Dynamics’ robot dog named Spot has been around for a while. It received numerous updates to its software over the years, while engineers upgraded its hardware, too.
Jess Joho of the Los Angeles Times explored how well the machine fared against the dogs that lived with us for millennia. These were the challenges.
1. Accessorize That Dog
The first test included how well the bandana looked on the dogs, and how enthusiastic they were about it. Clearly, Spot wore it with pride, but it didn’t compliment it quite as well as Magde the Bulldog.
It is important to note that Magde, on the other hand, wasn’t particularly happy about being accessorized. First victory for the real ones.
2. (Not) Giving The Paw
Ok, listen… Sweetie might have had a lot on her plate that day. Maybe she didn’t really feel like giving her paw. Spot is a more serious “dog”, so I didn’t really expect it to just obey on command. Perhaps if Jess coded it in…
Regardless, the Cuteness Award went to Sweetie for the confused and judgy look when Jess reached for her paw. At least, Spot showed some solidarity. Jess called it a Sweetie win, but I would say it’s a draw.
3. Who’s The Better Water Dog
Good job Spot! It took this assignment very seriously and decided to refresh his inner circuitry with a splash of water. He is waterproof, don’t worry.
Beau took like a duck to water. He took it to the next level with the head submersion, but the true dog moment was trotting through the water before biting it. Dogged California sun! I’m surprised Jess thought Spot would do worse, though. Congratulations to Beau on the trophy.
4. Comforting Challenges Can Get Uncomfortable
At the end of this test, some might have realized that Judy, the Husky, wasn’t the best choice for this type of competition. She seems to have been more interested in Spot’s feelings than Jess’.
We will not take it against her, as Spot kept his poker face throughout the challenge. Neither result was comforting for Jess to stop crying, but Judy got a smile on her face by ignoring her. I call it a win for the Husky, but the official result is a draw.
5. The Poop-Off
Don’t be too quick to cast judgement on Dax. He had a good meal and this is the end result. He even managed to match the poop color with his coat. He showed perfect form, but that was not the point of this challenge.
Spot’s first victory for being low-maintenance (at least in terms of pooping). With nothing to clean after the robot dog’s potty break, Jess determined that Spot was the winner. Well deserved.
6. Ooh na na, What’s My Name? The Recall(ability) Challenge
Both candidates successfully came to Jess when recalled, but there can be only one winner. Drum roll. Spot is not the winner. Despite obeying the recall, he weaved and bobbled on the way over. He left a lot to be desired.
Dax is the undisputed winner of the recall challenge. He was fast as lightning at the mention of his name and managed to get near Jess in record time. Treats might’ve been involved…
With four votes for real dogs, and two for Spot, nature wins with double the tally. That’s according to Jess’ scores. My results were a little closer together. I gave each challenger half a point in the draws, and one point for a win.
As a representative of Pupvine, my results are as follows – Real Dogs 3.5 : 2.5 Robot Dog. I scored the last challenge as a draw, since Spot came without the aid of treats. Who was your winner and why?