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Russia Rolled Out a ‘High-Tech Robot’ That Turned Out to Be a Guy in a Rented Costume

There was a skit on That Mitchell and Webb Sound in which a robot called Demetrius turns out to be a guy in a robot suit clumsily hitting on David Mitchell’s girlfriend. It’s one of my favorite sketches because of how absurd it was, both in that someone in a costume talking with a robot voice would be seriously believed to be a robot and the fact that it had gone on undetected for years until Mitchell got into a scrap with it.

Turns out that it isn’t so absurd because that exact thing just happened in Russia, where Russian state TV highlighted a robot called Boris that turned out to be a guy in a robot costume.

Yeah, in that video clip you can see Boris dance and talk, which is easy because Boris is a guy in a costume.

Matt Groening was also a fan of this joke, doing it in both The Simpsons, where Homer pretends to be a robot to complete in a robot fighting competition and on Futurama, where Fry and Leela disguise themselves as robots to make a delivery to a robot planet that kills humans on sight.

I never thought I’d be talking about a sketch written by Vladimir Putin in the same breath as Mitchell and Webb and Matt Groening, but here we are. According to The Guardian, the robotics expo Boris was presented at didn’t give the impression Boris was an actual robot, but state TV did.

The organisers of the Proyektoria technology forum, held each year for the “future intellectual leaders of Russia”, did not try to pass off the robot as real, the website reported.

But whether by mistake or design, the state television footage did just that. “It’s entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics,” an anchor reported. “Especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots.”

I mean, this is heartbreaking. Next thing you know we’re going to find out C-3PO and R2-D2 were just guys in suits, too. And that Lost in Space robot everyone’s horny aunt was all lubed up for on Facebook better be real, too.

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