In last 6 months Google has been quietly buying key robotics companies and has since then bought 8 of them. Their latest and crown acquisition for this year - cutting edge robotic company Boston Dynamics - was announced on Friday, December 13.
Google's robotic effort is being led by well known Andy Rubin, the man which led smartphone operating system Android into global dominance.
Mr Rubin tweeted on Friday "The future is looking awesome!" and linked to the New York Times article, which first reported the acquisition. A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal but declined to elaborate on its price or plans.
As with any business project at this level, nobody really knows what exactly are they up to (except Google obviously), but if we follow simple economics and opportunities in the field of robotics it seems the next decades will be all about robots.
Boston Dynamics is a company that builds advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed. In their own words they "use sensor-based controls and computation to unlock the capabilities of complex mechanisms. Our world-class development teams take projects from initial concept to proof-of-principle prototyping to build-test-build engineering, to field testing and low-rate production."
Organizations worldwide turn to Boston Dynamics for advice and help in creating the most advanced robots on Earth and Google now has their know-how under its hood.
Other robotics companies purchased by Google focus on software for advanced robotic arms, grasping technology, and computer vision.
After Amazon announced their drone package delivery project, news of their hard working warehouse employees started coming out. It appears they have their hands and legs on tight schedule doing boring and near impossible tasks that should be done by robots.
There is a growing list of what robots will be doing in the future, and that list is just one answer to question why is Google investing in this... the robots will end up doing all the tasks humans are not fit for. This includes automated car driving (in this case the car is the robot), mining, surveillance, space exploration and other dangerous tasks... See more in BBC documentary named How Robots Will Change the World.
This inevitably leads us to the problem of skyrocketing global unemployment rates. The Swiss showed us the solution with their referendum on basic income for every adult. Since we are already working just for numbers on our bank accounts it is time for our governments to share those ones and zeroes with us, and in a way that does not insult us as conscious living beings.
You already know about transhumanism and Ray Kurzweil who argues that it is possible to create consciousness in an artificial being, but did you know that as of 2012 he is also working for Google? Last year, Kurzweil was appointed as Director of Engineering at Google and in an interview for Wired in April 2013, he explained: "My mission at Google is to develop natural language understanding with a team and in collaboration with other researchers at Google. Search has moved beyond just finding keywords, but it still doesn’t read all these billions of web pages and book pages for semantic content. ... We’d like the computers to actually pick up on that semantic meaning. If that happens, and I believe that it’s feasible, people could ask more complex questions."
Video courtesy of DARPA
Video courtesy of Humanoid Robot
Featured image: PETMAN by Boston Dynamics