Blunderbuss Bot

Alarming video went viral this week of a robot dog blasting off round after round with submachine gun.

The minute-and-a-half clip has already accumulated more than five million views on Twitter, and it's not hard to see why it's morbidly fascinating. It shows a silver, four-legged dog robot prancing around some outdoor brick flooring and pointing the gun toward the open area beyond. The bot fires multiple times, the recoil nearly knocking it off balance.

Reality Check

As Vice sleuthed out, the robodog in question is a cheap model built by UnitreeYusu and the weapon is most likely a PP-19 Vityaz.

Vice tracked the dog and gun to a Russian businessman who builds hoverbikes. The conclusion is that the guy is just a tech enthusiast who likes to go to the shooting range and built a weird gun-enabled bot for fun. In other words, it doesn't seem like he's actively planning a war.

There's really no denying the fear caused by the ominous sound of robodog feet followed by gunshots, but it's not the worst of its kind by a long shot. There totally are military contractors building robodogs with guns. Those are surely better built than the bot in the clip, which seemed unable to shoot accurately because it couldn't handle the recoil.

In other words, the viral robodog with a gun might be scary — but what the professionals are cooking up is almost certainly worse.

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