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Do robots that look like us make robotics more acceptable, or less so? While Boston Dynamics is teaching its useful robots ever more agile movements with some human gestures, Hollywood is still wary.

Another Boston Dynamics Atlas Video has come out, this time with Atlas throwing a tool bag to a human.

I like the way their demos give the robot a personality. I’m not sure if this was intended, but it seems like Atlas has more than the scripted human actor. Atlas does a look around, the corkscrew flip and a fist pump: all scripted and showing off, as they said, but it’s impressive.

There’s a decades-long study area of personification of robots, making them more – or less – easy to adopt. Workplaces and homes are different, as are the degrees of anthropomorphism used. It may not be obvious, but many studies have shown that less human-like robots are more accepted than close, but not quite perfect, copies of ourselves.

Hollywood still feels uneasy about this, making films about almost-humans we think we can control. But then, they turn out to be just a bit too human, and we can’t. So at least for now, Hollywood is keeping human-looking robots in the horror genre.

The latest is M3gan, the Universal Studios production from director Gerard Johnstone.

One thing is certain. Robots in some form – humanoid or not – will become as integral a part of our lives as smartphones are today. The iPhone was released in 2007, only 15 years ago. From what I’ve seen, I’m guessing we will see robots in white collar jobs and or homes in 15 years’ time.