Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
Japan's Asimo robot was a ridiculous dead-end: perfectly controlled to essentially run scripts over well-known terrain with virtually no uncertainty or randomness. A real bipedal walking robot will need uncertainty baked in from the very beginning, which Atlas clearly has from watching the video. It looks like a (slowed down, more clumsy) version of a person walking over uncertain terrain, if that person were blindfolded (which Atlas essential is in this demo, as it has no camera inputs). What you see as evidence of weakness is actually evidence of vast ability!
From these beginnings, you're going to see researchers add in more complex terrain coupled with video cameras input for prediction of foot-ground-interactions, and gradually increasing speed. Around the end of this decade (or perhaps the next), we will see bipedal robots able to work and move (including running) in and over highly variable natural terrain, and thus be truly useful in whatever situations they are required, thanks to the productive research direction pushed forward by Atlas. Yes, it will take some time, but this is one branch of artificial intelligence / machine learning, and as we have discovered in the field, the things that humans and living things find easy are actually incredibly *hard* to get robots / computers to do.