A video purportedly showing an amazingly human-like robot walking down a driveway began to go viral (along with expressions of robophobia and cyber-dystopianism) in mid-August 2018:
— Derren Brown (@DerrenBrown) August 18, 2018
Although many social media users reacted as if the clip demonstrated a Terminator-like cyborg were on the loose, the video actually featured a computer-generated character originally created for a series of short films from filmmaker Neill Blomkamp and Oats Studios.
Blomkamp attempted to quell the internet’s fears about a robot uprising and shared the first installment from the “Adam” series:
— Neill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) August 19, 2018
The “Adam” films were created with an advanced CGI gaming engine called Unity. Although this character is certainly most well known for appearing in Blomkamp’s films, it is also a downloadable asset, allowing other filmmakers and video game creators to place it in their own projects.
The viral video of the human-like robot was created by film maker and VFX artist Maxim Sullivan and was originally posted to Twitter on 12 August 2018:
Glitchy test of Adam from the @oatsstudios Unity film, going for a walk. Not posted much for a while as been busy with client work. More soon though. #c4d #octane #otoy #mdcommunity #mograph #animation #ae #cameratrack #octanerender #robot #adam #vfx #unity @unitytechnologies pic.twitter.com/7hYwjkwsDD
— Maxim Sullivan (@M_X_M) August 12, 2018
In response to a question from Gizmodo reporter Matt Novak, Sullivan explained that he filmed the background with his phone and then added the Adam character in post:
Hi. I took the background footage with my phone. Put the character in post. Was just testing an HDRI lighting setup I’d made … And it seems to have gone viral. :) Robot is a free download for the unity game engine.
Liptak, Andrew. “How Neill Blomkamp and Unity are Shaping the Future of Filmmaking with Adam: The Mirror.”
The Verge. 30 November 2017.