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The Nobel Prize For Unintended Consequences

The Nobel Committee is announcing this year’s prizes this week.

Description: Front side (obverse) of one of th...

The Nobel for Unintended consequences goes to… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The award for medicine went to a group who looked in to how cells transfer vital materials to other cells in the body. I haven’t read the research, because doing so before writing about it would be responsible. I’m pretty sure cells use tiny rail cars to move things around.

The award for physics has gone to researchers who’ve done work on “The God Particle”. Perhaps you know what that is; my understanding of physics ended under an apple tree, with Newton asking “who threw that?”

In a related development, I am giving myself the Nobel Prize for grammar and physics sarcasm for my ground breaking work on “The God Participle and Particle Phrase” which is “No one overheard God objecting to a particle being named after him.”

A few years back, I offered a Nobel Prize to anyone who could come up with a way to make crustless brownies. This year, I am not offering the prize. I’ve already decided who gets my Nobel Prize.

A New Category

This year, I’m awarding my Nobel in the category of Cool Things With Unintended Use(s) And/Or Consequence(s). The award goes to the developers of the Atlas Robot.

Here is a video of Atlas in action –

Pretty impressive. The team responsible for creating Atlas is smart enough to foresee it as a tool to protect human lives. What they likely don’t see are the unintended uses and consequences of their work.

Those unintended parts are what led me to award Boston Dynamics my personal Nobel Prize.

Unseen awesomeness

Robots are always cool. But the team from Boston Dynamics doesn’t realize how cool their robot is, nor do they see its significance.

Atlas is significant because it makes the rest of us feel better about how clumsy we sometimes look. A chrome, headless robot with a video screen in its chest is very cool. If a cool robot looks that clumsy walking across a box of rocks, we can all tell ourselves that we didn’t look that bad stumbling over that crack in the sidewalk.

In the video, Atlas takes a hit in the ribs from a ball and does not fall over. By the time Boston Dynamics develops Atlas 2 or 3, the robot will be turning and catching the ball. With that technology in place, we’ll be close to a robot dodge ball league. I’m sure you’ll agree that dodge ball robots are awesome. If not, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

Economic Impact

Once Atlas is available for use by the military and by sports entrepreneurs, there will be a huge boost to the economy.

Robot parts don’t make themselves. Skilled tradesmen will be hired and trained to manufacture them. The chrome industry dulled when shiny bumpers and other accessories fell out of favor in automotive design. Atlas’ body is shiny metal, as all the best robots are. Chrome plating and chromium mining will make a comeback as the demand for these robots increases.

Perhaps the bags make a comeback too. (image via http://coveofsolitude.wordpress.com)

Atlas’ economic impact will rebuild industries you wouldn’t expect it would touch.

Consider the ball used in the testing. Those are made in the same factories as bags robbers use to get away with their loot. You know the bags I’m talking about – the white ones with a big dollar sign on the outside. As those bags fell out of favor, a many of the factories that produced them shut down. The communities surrounding those shuttered plants will see a renaissance as the need for balls marked with a big 20 takes off.

A dodge ball playing robot who makes us feel better and stimulates the economy. What’s not to like?

Nice job, Boston Dynamics. Stop by and pick up your prize, mañana.

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70 Comments on “The Nobel Prize For Unintended Consequences”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is the droid I’m looking for!

  2. We Found Him Captain! says:

    The Panthers may be interested in buying another headless quarterback. He would only play in the fourth quarter at the one yard line, and stumble-walk to the goal post.

  3. Blogdramedy says:

    If they can mass produce one with the face and body of Karl Urban, I’ll give them something special, too. *grin*

  4. I want my robot to be named Rosie. Like the one in the Jetsons which looks like it may be of the same ilk as your cartoon, cool. The best part about the robots if we get sports leagues is no more union contracts with overpaid players, which means the whole fam damily can go without it breaking the bank. No more drug addled a-holes giving mouthy interviews either. Just don’t hire ex-TSA workers to build them, we want them to actually be functional.

  5. List of X says:

    If Atlas 2 will just be turning, and Atlas 4 will be catching the ball, Atlas T-800 will preemptively shoot all researchers who attempt to attack him with the giant rubber ball.

  6. I look forward to the day when an Atlas prototype kicks the crap out of the Fox Sports Robot.

  7. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I can’t wait to get my robot. I can’t wait to take it to the auto shop so that I can say, “Pimp my robot, please.”

  8. shoutabyss says:

    Great idea. I plan to steal it. But, since I’m not qualified to give out Nobel Prizes, I’m forced to do something a bit different. To think outside of the box. I’ll be awarding something I call the “No Bell” Prize. The award itself consists of no bell. What I mean to say is that the winner won’t receive a bell. I think that’s a pretty good prize. I mean, who wants a bell?

  9. That thing creeps me the hell out. Like everyone’s worst science fiction nightmare. Seriously in 50 years are we going to have those things running around wreaking havoc and playing dodgeball?

  10. Is this your way of tossing your hat into the presidential race for 2016? Jobs, jobs, jobs, and robots. . . .

  11. That robot is almost as clumsy as I am.

  12. This is the very definition of awesomeness. If I had one, though, I’d immediately start adding five pounds to the ball after every hit till I managed to destroy it.

  13. Jarrod C says:

    Couple of things here:

    1. Can this group build a robot that can balance the government budget or spend money wisely?

    2. Showing a bit of age here, but was anyone else expecting Coke’s “Max Headroom” to pop onto that screen that was outfitted on the robot?

    Great piece. Thanks for sharing!

  14. That robot is hilarious. I couldn’t help but laugh while watching it, and laughed even harder reading your analysis. Good call. I won’t feel so bad when I fall down now. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Excellent post!

  15. This is askin to the Darwin awards 🙂

  16. OMG, this was great! Thanks for the laugh and the smile that won’t leave my face this morning.

  17. Peabeswick says:

    I am supposed to be studying for Uni, instead I am having a good giggle, at your FP blog (thought I’d make that clear, it is 1am where I am, I could be giggling at anything). Nevertheless. You. Funny. Thanks!

  18. Such a shame that the company who makes those bags with the dollar sign on went bankrupt – should’ve diversified instead of putting all their eggs in the bank robbing basket. That’s just the way of things i suppose, same story for ACME explosives…!

  19. Katie says:

    Epic Robot Dodgeball. I look forward to it.

  20. 2cupsofjoe says:

    It’s good there’s going to be a new age of artisans creating, building, and maintaining robots. Where before there were metal smiths, auto technicians, etc. Plus it keeps the kids out of trouble, since kids have a thing for machines, I think…

  21. omawarisan says:

    Hi Freshly Pressed Visitors. Sorry to be slow on answering comments. Covered a lot of ground today, I will get to all your comments.

    Welcome to Blurt.

  22. Justin Thyme says:

    If the robot was so smart, why didn’t it walk down the centre boards, which were straight and even, instead of across the rocks?

  23. I like your selection for your personal Nobel prize. Your reasons are sound. Thank you for giving me a smile.

  24. hello… haha, love that bag with the dollar sign. and it fell out of favor, huh? and the consequences are consequential, as you say, lol. what do they use in bank heists nowadays? 😉 cool post, thanks…

  25. bobspoelder says:

    Doesn’t anyone think that these robots are a kind of creepy ?. if I see videos like this, it reminds me of the movie irobot

  26. erinespo says:

    haha yes. Hmmm crustless brownies… challenge accepted.

  27. You know what would be a nice addition to the video screen chest? Yes, a pumpkin head.

  28. DJBlackmore says:

    Thanks for the refreshing post. If you hone in on some of those crustless Brownies, I’d like to know 😉

  29. heh, heh…I need one of those at work. Something to take the slings and arrows for me. Both in the front and especially in the back.

  30. t m says:

    1) for crustless brownies, simply bake brownies. Cut off the crust. Eat the crustless brownies.

    2) I would have liked it if that robot, after 2nd strike with the Acme Corporation 20LB Weight, had grabbed the sunsabitch and THROWN IT at the dude.. playing a mp3 file at 180 db “IF YOU CAN DODGE A 20 POUND WEIGHT, YOU CAN DODGE A BALL!”

  31. A. van Nerel says:

    Awesome post! And good to know humanity’s making cylons now! Can’t wait for the day when the first robot computes: ‘I dodge ball, therefore I am’.

  32. Yeahhhhhh!!!!! My heart jumped when I saw you were FP’d – awesome post and a big congrats Mr Blurt!!
    It’s nice to know brilliance doesn’t go unnoticed!!
    ~Andrea<3

  33. Inspire One. says:

    I’m scared out of my mind how this article will seem like ancient news in ten years 😥 Inspirational.


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