Google Will Soon Rule The Earth With Drones And Robots, Probably
Google’s mysterious barges turned out to be promotional party boats, their flu predicting algorithm was kinda bad at actually predicting flu patterns, and Google Glass may be a novelty for douchebags. From these vignettes you may assume that Google’s not quite the world dominating force that works like Dave Egger’s The Circle may suggest. Also, people are really really mad about the Google buses.
However, Google’s recent spending spree on up-and-coming tech companies might just make you reconsider their world dominance plan.
It’s no wonder that Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics received media coverage. Anyone who has seen videos of Big Dog :
Or Pet Man:
must have wondered what the hell Google wanted with the most advanced (and seriously creepy) robots on Earth.
Not to mention Google’s other acquisitions in the robotics field. Google acquired Schaft, creators of a bipedal robot able to withstand being kicked and shoved with nary a misstep, along with at least 8 other robotics companies, several prominent artificial intelligence firms and Titan Aerospace, best known for creating solar powered drones. Neat!
These aren’t the only high-tech procurements that seem a bit far afield from the original Google mission: collecting, collating and organizing the knowledge of the world. Google recently teamed up with NASA and the non-profit Universities Space Research Association to buy the first commercially available quantum computer. That’s right — quantum computers aren’t theoretical. They are a real thing that exists in the world, or at least they do in in Moffett Field, California.
So, Google appears to be on track to force us all into the future, even if they have to take us kicking and screaming, but this leaves us asking why Google is seeing a world made up of androids, drones and mathematics that can be solved only with the terrifyingly huge computational power of a quantum computer, while the rest of us are standing around shaking our iPhones.
Enter Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, who has long promised us the singularity is coming.
Soon, says Kurzweil, AIs will be smarter than puny humans and the future will go berserk and you will not understand it because you have not singularity-ized.
(In case you were wondering, this is pretty much also too the plot of the new Johnny Depp money-hemorrhaging movie, Transcendence. Do not go see it. You’ve been warned.)
However, when you strip away the pseudo-philosophical word salad and Johnny Depp’s unfortunate facial hair in the movie, the prediction is simple: technology is increasing at an exponential rate and we soon won’t recognize the world we are creating. And, that part seems pretty reasonable: the direction that technologies take is often unpredictable. Would Copernicus and Newton be able to predict or understand the scientific leaps and technological advances that began during the Scientific Revolution? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but from our current position, predicting the future of technology is almost impossible.
So, while Google has had a rash of high-profile missteps in the past year, their lower profile acquisitions seem to support a new mission: to usher in a vision of the future with Google as our benevolent overlords. The question becomes: which future are they ushering in?
We do not care, really, as long as we get our fucking jetpacks.