Here’s a recipe for freaking out Twitter: Borrow a video of a realistic humanoid robot strolling up a driveway. Post it on Twitter. Wait for world famous mentalist Derren Brown to retweet it. Gather nearly 5 million video views. Enjoy the comment fallout as people question whether it’s real.
Brown’s retweet of this short robot video helped spread the footage across Twitter, whose users described it as “scary,” “creepy,” “terrifying” and “my worst nightmare.” It helped that Brown wrote, “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE” in his tweet caption.
Fortunately for us, the robot isn’t real. It’s a CGI rendering of Adam, a character created to show off the capabilities of the Unity game development platform. Adam starred in a 2016 short film from Unity and later became a focus of a web series from District 9director Neill Blomkamp and his Oats Studios.
Blomkamp didn’t have anything to do with the driveway video, though he chimed in on Brown’s Twitter thread, writing, “Props to the artist who implemented Adam into live action footage.”
The artist behind the video appears to be 3D artist Maxim Sullivan, who originally posted the video to Twitter on Aug. 12 with the message, “Glitchy test of Adam from the @oatsstudios Unity film, going for a walk.”
Sullivan answered some questions in his own Twitter thread, saying the creation is indeed CGI. While Sullivan’s original tweeted video has almost 13,000 views, the version tweeted out of context by another Twitter user (and retweeted by Brown) has almost 5 million.
While Adam isn’t real, there are plenty of actual robots out there that can give you the willies. Boston Dynamics’ running robot Atlas and dog is a top candidate that should slot nicely into your robo-fear nightmares.
Boston Dynamics is planning to sell its SpotMini robot to the public in 2019,
It can open doors! It could be your door-opening pet.
Boston Dynamics says contract manufacturers will build the first 100 SpotMinis later this year for commercial use, and then the company will ramp up production to sell additional bots in 2019. We don’t have a price tag, but I’m sure it’s incredibly expensive, so I can’t imagine every home having a SpotMini. Still, you can dream.