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News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Why Is Google Building A Robot Army?

•, By Erik Sofge
Looking back, Google’s emergence as a robotics powerhouse seems obvious—and inevitable. First came the scattered hires of roboticists and the release of self-driving cars into Bay Area traffic. Then, the search giant reportedly bought two humanoid HUBO robots from South Korean university KAIST. But it wasn’t until December’s revelation that Google had acquired eight robotics companies—including Boston Dynamics, maker of BigDog, WildCat and a stable of other astonishing Pentagon-funded bots—that it became clear: Google means to build robots.
Although the prospect of merging Google’s insatiable appetite for data with sprinting, leaping hardware has inspired an unsurprising battery of Skynet jokes, the response among roboticists has been overwhelmingly positive. “Of course it’s part of our business to tell everyone how great we think robotics is, at every opportunity,” says Matt Mason, director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. “But this is the kind of commitment that transcends any sort of BS or rhetoric.”

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