🤖Case study: mistaking CGI for miltech

In public discourse, military AI and autonomous weapons are often depicted with exaggerated expectations. The following example demonstrates the mixing of the fictional and the real.

On 26 Oct 2019, Corridor Digital—a media company that offers video production services—published a video titled "New Robot Makes Soldiers Obsolete" depicting a robot character loosely resembling Boston Dynamics technologies. The video was intended mainly as a showcase of what kind of effects the company can produce in CGI.

Despite the explicit watermark "Bosstown Dynamics" in the lower right corner, many people mistakenly took it for the real Boston Dynamics bipedal robots and caused an uproar in social media.

The video went viral and prompted media outlets to do "fact checks", eventually "debunking" the video (which was never intended as a misinformation campaign in the first place).

Other social media users shared the video, acknowledging it as a parody or staged production. Nevertheless, several were tempted to extrapolate the fictional topic to real-world future. (This blog post refers to the following tweets.)

Corridor Digital's response to the viral reaction

As a response, Corridor crew recorded another video with before-and-after images showing the initial actor for the robot, and the CGI results, posted on 31 Oct 2019.


On 19 Sep 2021, Corridor posted yet another video explaining how they made the first one, and explaining some ways of how one can tell from the imagery that it is CGI-edited, not a real video of real objects.


In January 2022, the original parody video was picked up again and started making rounds in social media.

This prompted—again—new "fact check" publications from serious media.

A recent video from 18 Sep 2022 again remixes moments from the Corridor video with frames from real Boston Dynamics product tests. While acknowledging the Corridor video as a parody, it still presents the CGI vision as if depicting an idea of "what the future will look like" and stressing that "we are not far behind".

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