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News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Google Rumored to be Pulling its Team From the DARPA Robotics Challenge

•, Erik Sofge
 If the rumor is true it would be a significant move on Google’s part, bolstering the company’s claims that it has no interest in seeking funding from the military.

The withdrawal might also quiet some of the anxiety that arose this past December, when the news first broke that Google was purchasing Boston Dynamics, a firm whose robots were funded primarily by the Pentagon. Google, it could be junior-sleuthed, was getting into military robotics. The search giant’s own assurances, that it wasn’t interested in being a military contractor, were deftly ignored by professional hand-wringers. The Guardian wrote that, along with gaining “world-leading robotics capability,” the acquisition added “significant links to the US military…” And while journalists trotted out the standard array of Terminator references, the Boston Dynamics deal inspired media theorist Douglas Rushkoff to note that, “some of Google's recent forays are waking people up to the fact that evil is in the eyes of the beholder.” (The rhetorical bait-and-hook title of his CNN column: “Is Google redefining “don’t be evil’?”)

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