Along with the proliferation of artificial intelligence and the fear of human extinction it inspires, robotic capabilities continue to rise, so much so that even man’s best friend isn’t safe from the threat of replacement, courtesy of mechanized mongrels.
Almost 20 years ago, Boston Dynamics gave birth to the four-legged nightmare now known as “Spot.” And while the company signed a pledge to prevent the weaponization of such tools, other inventors just want to watch the world burn — literally.
A company called Throwflame, which manufactures flamethrowers — who’d have guessed? — revealed a robotic dog last month capable of spewing flames from its mouth like a creepy mecha-dragon. Its name? The Thermonator.
Much like its human — er, cybernetic organism, living tissue over a metal endoskeleton — counterpart played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” series, it’s “Hasta la vista, baby” to anything and anyone caught in the Thermonator’s radius.
And as Throwflame notes, “In the USA Flamethrowers are federally unregulated and not even considered a firearm.”
So, no laws exist against Americans buying, owning, and using flamethrowers for purposes of their choosing, including ice melting, clearing brush, and pest extermination. Whether or not you trust Thermonator to carry out these tasks, however, is something else entirely.
In Season 4, Episode 5 of “Black Mirror” (“Metalhead”), robot dogs take over and systematically massacre the majority of mankind. And these variants didn’t even have access to advanced pyrotechnics.
Throwflame’s fire-breathing dog is a terrifying addition to the lineup of manmade technology that could turn on us.
See Spot bark. See Spot run. See Spot burn it all to the ground and leaving nothing but ash in his wake.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.