LEGO Mindstorms V3 Released – I, For One, Welcome Our Plastic Overlords

We’ve known it for a while now; one day the robot uprising will come, and it’ll be our own damn fault. People have been warning us for decades, but did we listen? Nooooo, we had to keep on doing crazy things like building robot replicas of ourselves, and grafting electronic arms onto organic bodies. Now we’re even inviting them into our homes, teaching our children to think of them as toys; rather than fear them as the demonic murderbeasts they will one day become. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the terrifying new additions to the Lego Mindstorms, and tell us that somehow, somewhere, you don’t feel Skynet watching you…

It Can See You

Without extra-sensory organs, the prospect of a robot uprising goes from ‘horrifying apocalypse’ to rejected Laurel and Hardy sketch. The thought of all those psychotic androids falling over each other in their Skynet-induced rage is kinda sweet, like watching a baby try to walk for the first time. Lego, at the behest of their mechanical masters, have eliminated this adorable scenario by giving the EV3 series the power to see you. By using infrared sensors, the models will be capable of reacting to the environment around them, including knowing when a human is near. Just to make the implications of this disturbingly plain, Lego have included a monster-snake as one of the 17 possible builds, which will use this feature to attack nearby humans. If that wasn’t worrying enough, it can also…

Plot with Your Phone

Or tablet. While previous editions of Mindstorm could only operate with Android (aptly) or a special kit, the new generation are fully compatible and can be controlled via your iThing, Windows Phone, or Android. A downloaded app allows you to influence the robots’ actions by simply wiggling your phone about. So far, so harmless. But what happens when it starts plotting with your consumer purchases to learn your weaknesses? Or turns your household goods against you, HAL-style? While you may not feel you have much to fear from your local network, bear in mind…

It Can Connect to the Internet

Potentially. Lego have included a USB port with this model, with no specific purpose in mind. Given the prevalence of dongles in the world, though, we imagine it won’t be long before someone hooks theirs up to the internet. At first it’ll seem cute, useful even. But as more and more geeks start putting their monster-snakes online, the awful truth will become apparent: an army of robot monsters patched into a worldwide network, just waiting for some military project to go haywire and turn them against us. So what? You may be thinking, what’s so bad about a handful of robot snakes? Well first off, congratulations on your insane bravado; secondly, you should know…

They’re More Customisable than Ever

If there’s anything more disturbing on the net than this video (which is still safe for work) we’ve yet to see it:

Here you see a man who has dedicated a year of his time to building a robot head with feelings, just so he can emotionally abuse it. The tentative first steps toward robot consciousness, and already we’re giving them the sort of complex the child of Walter White and Livia Soprano might have. If that wasn’t enough (hint: it is), there’s also this little clip:

Wow. I mean… wow. Combine terrifying intelligence with emotional abuse and you’ll only ever get a serial killer or a revolutionary; and neither bodes well for the future of our race. The EV3 series won’t even require a computer and degree to programme the little monsters; hacks will be able to be performed directly onto the ‘brick’, meaning even a child could do it. A child. If there’s one thing more disturbing than the thought of a robot uprising, it’s the thought of an army of robot snakes subject only to the whims of a genius 8 year old.

George writes for LegolandHolidays Windsor, working to offer family breaks (and generally messing around with LEGO at work).