In a move which will hopefully mirror I, Robot rather than The Terminator, it has been revealed that Google are working on developing robots with a certain level of artificial intelligence. This news came as it was revealed that Andy Rubin, who unexpectedly resigned from his position of head of the now seemingly aptly named Android operating system earlier in the year, has been setting up Google Robotics for the last six months.
With Sony developing a “SmartWig”, Amazon looking at using drones to fly orders to people and Waterstones investigating the possibility of delivering books by specially trained owls we are nearly at the point where we just don’t ask anymore when a company reveals plans to turn science fiction and fantasy into fact. Despite this, Rubin has elaborated the nature of the intention for the project. Presently Google are working on robots capable of performing somewhat mundane tasks, such as warehouse and factory work and document sorting, but the goal they are reaching for is delivering what will in effect be a digital servant – a robot capable of going out to shop for you.
Rubin admits they are “many years” away from successfully launching one of these robots, but is nonetheless pleased with progress in the last few months, indicating that the large amount of money Google can throw at this project increases the likelihood of success.
If we give all the projects by tech companies in development 20 years, an image of 2033 is an interesting one. It could be that you are sat at home browsing the web on your Google Glasses. An advert takes your interest, so from your Sony SmartWig you send a message to your Google Robot to place an order for it. This the robot does, and whilst the Amazon drone makes its way to deliver it, your Robot takes the self-driven Google car to get your groceries. So long as the machines do not become self-aware and take over, we could all start to get this more relaxed lifestyle technology always promised but, presumably unlike a Waterstones Owl, never delivered.
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