Russian media are reporting that Boris the Robot, a feature of a youth forum on robotics in Yaroslavl, 250 kilometres northeast of Moscow, was not a robot at all, but actually a man in a robot costume.
Here’s a video of the robot dancing to Russian rave band Little Big‘s ‘Skibidi‘ at the Proyektoria Technology Forum on Tuesday.
The tweet from local outlet MBKh Media roughly translates as: “At the Youth Forum Putin showed ‘the most modern robot Boris’. But it’s just a man in a suit.”
На молодежном форуме Путина показали «самого современного робота Бориса». Но это просто человек в костюме «Робот Алеша…
Видео: «Россия 24» pic.twitter.com/iHUtAoxUMo
— ЧТД (@Chtede) December 12, 2018
Side note: the teenagers very sadly doing the ‘Skibidi’ dance – and I am truly sorry to have to show you the original – are a MOOD. Yep, these kids really do love dancing and robots.
The ABC writes that the suit, Alyosha, from a company called Show Robots, is worth more than $5K, their website promising that the outfit offers the “near total illusion that before you stands a real robot“.
Boris was apparently shown on Russian state TV, as The Guardian noted, with the broadcaster Russia 24 saying “Robot Boris has already learned to dance and he’s not that bad.”
But uh, people noticed the suit’s heaps visible neckline when pics emerged on social media. Plus you know, he was moving like a person, complete with extraneous movements. Also where were his external sensors?
While the forum’s organisers deny claiming the man in a robot suit was a real robot, it seems like state TV footage pushed that narrative.
A news anchor said: “It’s entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics. Especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots.”
At which point Boris the Robot Man spoke: “I know mathematics well but I also want to learn to draw.” And that’s when he did the dance, because obvs that is the first thing you do when you invent a high-tech robot – you teach him how to get down on the dancefloor.
At the end of it all, we can only request you do NOT learn the ‘Skibidi’ dance, or believe that Russia have created humanoid robots. Not yet anyway.