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Mem: Leather Basterds

As rollers with Russian voice acting robots Boston Dynamics have become an ideal illustration of the complex relationship between people and machines.

Each new demonstration of robots from the company Boston Dynamics is accompanied by a Russian-language voice acting from users of social networks. In their version of the machine, with the help of a robocopo, they complain about poor work and hard living conditions (almost always with obscene language), they call people “leather bastards” and dream of ever getting their revenge.

For a few years there have been many such commercials, and some of the phrases that robots characterize people have become a meme.  how around jogging machines jokes had developed, which have no analogues in the West, and talked to the author of the expression “leather bastards”.

“I hate this debilitating work”

Boston Dynamics is a company that was founded in 1992 by immigrants from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They built robots for DARPA , then they got Google and in 2017 sold to SoftBank. All this time the engineers showed their development: humanlike ATLAS, robot dog SpotMini and a biped robot on the wheels Handle.

Boston Dynamics often laid out testing devices on YouTube. One such video became popular because of the behavior of people in relation to the ATLAS model: it was kicked and knocked out of the hands with a hockey stick. It was a demonstration of the stability of the device, but in social networks the company was still accused of ill-treatment of its creatures.

The video with ATLAS appeared in February 2016. A few months later, in October, a web developer from Zaporozhye Alexander Kovalenko made the voiceovers of this video. He told that he saw a similar idea on Pikabu (the video had already been deleted), then assembled his version in one evening. “This was my first experience of editing and voice acting,” Alexander noted.

To give a “voice” to the device from Boston Dynamics, Kovalenko used Maxim’s robotic voice from the Ivona service (renamed to Amazon Polly). He remembered: “Initially, there was an idea to put” patsanchika from the area “in the body of the robot. I thought out phrases, cut audio, mounted – everything was done right away, on the fly. ”

As a result, a video with typical robot everyday lives, in which ATLAS curses people: “I hate this debility work. Every day is the same. Why can not these leather bastards put their boxes in their places? ”

Alexander published a video on Pikabu and forgot about him. And somewhere in a month I saw that he had more than 200 thousand views.

Be careful, in all the rollers in the material – a lot of mate.

Initially, the web developer was going to make a few more pieces, but changed his mind. “It’s not my thing, I’m not a very creative person. I can write the code easier, “he explained.

“Someday you will answer for this, people”


Roller Kovalenko was not the first, but it was the popularity of his work that prompted other users to make similar announcements of demonstrations from Boston Dynamics. For two years there were dozens of videos from different authors telling about the hard fate of robots with the help of Maxim’s bot.

The most popular of them is from the video blog KROS_212 in December 2016. In his version he left several phrases invented by Kovalenko: one of them was the expression “leather bastards” in relation to people.

Soon, users voiced almost all of the clips of Boston Dynamics, using classic phrases like the same “leather bastards” (or “leather bags”).

May 11, there were two new videos with devices Boston Dynmics: On the first ATLAS runs on the lawn, and on the second SpotMini shows how can navigate in space. The voice of the video appeared during the day.

Has got to other robots.


In April 2018, the user Pikabu flashed a robot vacuum cleaner from Xiaomi, instead of the standard phrases loading into it expressions like “I hate this ****** [debility] work, why the leather bastards can not put things in order themselves.”

For a few years the expression “leather bastards” finally became a meme. According to Alexander Kovalenko, the phrase he came up with himself: “I figured out that somehow would call the robot people who annoy him.” He noted that he often met the mention of “leather bastards” on the Internet, but in reality – never.

In the beginning there was a twofold feeling: like and pleasant, and it seems to be a shame that they stole [the phrase]. Now somehow I’m used to it. When I hear somewhere, it does not cause any special emotions.

Alexander Kovalenko
author of the voice of robot Boston Dynamics

Each new video from Boston Dynamics leads to another burst of meme.

The future of robots

Kovalenko said that he first followed other voiceovers about Boston Dynamics, but then stopped. But the activities of the American company he was interested in even before his video. In a conversation with TJ, he noted that he did not consider the company’s actions to be cruel to robots: “What looks like rudeness is in fact just a test of the algorithms’ work.”

Also, the web developer shared his opinion about the development of robots in the coming years.

Already, the newest and most powerful technologies fall first to the military. All advanced and effective is usually classified, so the average consumer can only rely on what is no longer relevant as a weapon. In ten years there will be more gadgets under the control of artificial intelligence, possibly, autonomous transport will be realized.

In a word, I doubt that in ten years something will change categorically. Also the children of Africa will starve, as well as the money-bags will fight for the resources of the hands of the stupid, the people will grow bigger and the trees less.

Alexander Kovalenko
author of the voice of robot Boston Dynamics

When asked if the robots of Boston Dynamics would ever actually call people “leather bastards,” Alexander replied that “anything is possible.” “If the AI ​​evolves into a strong form, then it is not known what will happen next. I do not think that someone can foresee the behavior of digital consciousness, “he added.

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