Russian state TV apparently became confused yesterday while airing footage of a technology forum aimed at kids. A TV reporter proclaimed that Boris the robot, seen above, “has already learned to dance and he’s not that bad.” The only problem? Boris isn’t a real robot. It’s just a man in a suit.
This “robot” actually retails for 250,000 rubles (about $3,770), as first reported by the Guardian, and is made by a company called Show Robots. “Boris” features glowing eyes, and plastic parts—and shockingly human-like movements. Probably because he needs a human inside to operate properly.
This faux-robot (fauxbot?) mystery was actually first unraveled when some eagled-eyed Russian viewers on the internet noticed that a suspiciously human-like neck was showing in the video.
To be clear, there’s no indication that the organizers of the tech forum were trying to deceive anyone. This appears to be a case of a TV presenter getting confused with what he believed to be “modern robots.”
The broadcast, which is still available on Russia-24’s YouTube channel, is pretty funny, especially when you know what’s actually going on. The organizers clearly meant this to be a fun attraction for kids. But it’s apparently getting harder and harder to tell the real thing from the fakes.
As we’ve pointed out before, robots like Atlas, made by Boston Dynamics, are doing backflips and jumping on top of tall boxes now. You can see how some people might get confused.
If all of this fake robot nonsense is giving you a case of deja vu, it might be because Russian TV unveiled a fake military “robot” this past summer. Or it could be because so many other fake robots have been unveiled in the past 100 years. Take, for instance, the infamous Miss Honeywell robot from 1968.
It was billed as the “housewife of the future” and showed off the appliances of tomorrow at retail stores in the 1960s. But it was, of course, just a human in a shiny blue suit and weird sunglasses.
Or take the story of Alpha, the robot that rose up and shot its inventor in 1932. The story of Alpha the gun-toting robot was spread far and wide in the 1930s in both America and the UK.