Google’s Android Dreams: Annoying, Not Apocalyptic : The New Yorker

Big Dog robot DARPA via Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after the Amazon C.E.O. Jeff Bezos unveiled, on “60 Minutes,” that his company plans to deliver packages to customers with a swarm of autonomous, flying drones, Google made an announcement that seemed far less explosive: Andy Rubin, the former head of Android, would lead an “effort to create a new generation of robots.” Over the weekend, Google revealed how sweeping its ambitions truly are: the company purchased Boston Dynamics, a robotics firm best known for products like Big Dog, a four-legged device that carries cargo across rough terrain, and the Cheetah, which can run faster than Usain Bolt. If Amazon and Google’s collective plans succeed over the next few years, they could usher in a new era of human-robot interaction, one in which we regularly find ourselves face to face with robots in both public and private spaces.

via Google’s Android Dreams: Annoying, Not Apocalyptic : The New Yorker.

An interesting article concerned about robot “smog”, the fear of robots being everywhere, making a lot of noise, etc.

I do think it’s a real concern, but I also tend to think that most companies won’t want to be the ones who cause it, and I anticipate them looking for ways to avoid or minimize the problems the article discusses.  If they don’t, it will invite government regulation, which I’m sure they wouldn’t be thrilled about.

I was happy to see the author allude briefly to, and quickly dismiss, the fears about Skynet, Terminators, and similar silliness.  His concerns are about prosaic issues, which is refreshing.

3 thoughts on “Google’s Android Dreams: Annoying, Not Apocalyptic : The New Yorker

    1. I can see it now: a Syfy movie with man eating robots.

      The article doesn’t mention if the EATR leaves poop behind.

      Actually, this raises the question of when robots simply become engineered life. I guess when they can self replicate.


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