Spot’s Rampage: We need to imagine the unimaginable

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Why art is important.

A group of artists, MSCHF, has created Spot’s Rampage. It is an installation in which Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robot, Spot, attacks pop art replicas with a paintball gun.

The robo-dog’s manufacturers have condemned the art as ‘promoting violence’. I’d say it does the opposite.

I’m less worried about watching the robo-dog’s playful (and audience-controlled) nihilism than I am about the naivety of Boston Robotics mission:

‘To create and deliver surprisingly capable robots that inspire, delight and positively impact society.’

Or, in other words, robots that make us like them so much that we invite them home to play. And then what happens?

This inspired performance epitomises how we need art to help us imagine the gamut of possibilities that powerful new technologies are creating.

Imagining alternative futures is the foundation for deciding the rules to govern what happens next.

Visual artists, writers of fiction and film-makers play a crucial role. We have the courage to ask the difficult questions. We fuel the imaginative process. And we get people thinking about what kind of world they want to inhabit.

You can see Spot’s Rampage here.

Image from MSCHF 2021

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