The often scary realistic and prophetic science fiction series ‘Black Mirror’ continues to deliver dystopian visions of the future, including robotics. In “Metalhead,” dog-like robots have turned on humanity and we are being hunted down by these ferocious devices.
“Metalhead” was filmed entirely in black and white, it follows the plight of Bella (Maxine Peake) trying to flee from robotic “dogs” after the unexplained collapse of human society. The dogs were influenced by Boston Dynamics’ robots such as ‘BigDog’, ‘SpotMini’ or ‘Cheetah’.
Unlike the Boston Dynamic robots (yet), the robot in Metalhead can track and follow humans, it can solve complex problems, it has a substantial power source and despite their small size, these Metalhead dogs have powerful ranged weapons.
One of the scariest concepts of killer robots is that they cannot be reasoned with and that they will continue on until they have achieved their programming goal, and you’re dead.
“Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.”
– Kyle Reese (The Terminator)
One of the redeeming notions today, however, is that robots require energy and the amount of energy in their batteries is finite. The ‘SpotMini’s’ power limitation means that it would stop dead in its tracks after about 90 minutes. The scary thing about the robot in “Metalhead, however, is that it can seemingly go on forever, as seen in the clip above when Bella runs into a forest and climbs a tree to flee from the purchasing robot dog.
The robot dog was damaged when it escaped from the car’s wreckage, so it cannot climb the tree, and instead powers down and waits. Then Bella drains it of power by repeatedly throwing sweets at it, causing it to power up and power down. When the dog no longer responds, Bella climbs down. But the robot’s battery seems to be totally dead, but is it really?