The marriage of General Dynamics and Google: a chilling

thought to some. Above: The BigDog heads up-mountain.



What is there to Fear from Google Robots? (Le Temps, Switzerland)


"I love robots. ... Yet I must confess: Boston Dynamics joining Google's fleet sends a shiver up my spine. What is the Mountain View company going to do with its acquisition and seven other robotics firms it has purchased? Data collection? Delivery? Help support the next generation? ... The discomfort with Google's takeover of Boston Dynamics reflects a fear of being supplanted and defeated in the race for eternity. As Google's rhetoric proclaims, it seeks to make real a dream, aspiring to omnipresence and immortality."


By Jonas Pulver



Translated By Jill Naeem


January 2, 2013


Switzerland - Le Temps - Original Article (French)

Mountain View firm has acquired Boston Dynamics, a company that specializes in military robotics, and some media are already calling to mind Terminator and Skynet.


Would Google Give Life to the Terminator?, A Prelude to Killer Robot Played by Schwarzenegger?, Is Google a potential Skynet power? The news has heavy-weight journalists talking, along with those vermin bloggers (or perhaps we should say it the other way around). Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a company that specializes in military robotics. Their bestiary quadrupeds are impressive. Developed with the U.S. military. BigDog, is designed to liberate soldiers from certain tasks, and is capable traversing very rough terrain. Its cousin, WildCat, can reach speeds of 16 mph, while Cheetah can reach double that speed on a treadmill.


I love robots. Not so much for themselves as for the mirror they tend hold up to us. Cuddly motorized toys, mechanical turks, cybernetic chess players, all the ersatz items that research and industry are devoting themselves to bringing into the world. Yet I must confess: Boston Dynamics joining Google's fleet sends a shiver up my spine. What is the Mountain View company going to do with this acquisition and seven other robotics firms it has purchased? Data collection? Delivery? Help support the next generation? These aren't the issues.


If this acquisition is a concern, it's because it calls to mind a Weltanschauung (a particular worldview) linked to Google's strategy: not to translate signs of the physical world into the digital one, as Apple does, but to extend the physical world's increasingly all-encompassing realities into the digital.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


Let me explain. Apple's success, its brand culture, is the capacity to create a virtual environment in which we discover many elements of reality: a diary in the shape of a notebook with "real" pages; interfaces designed to flatter the senses. From the object, we move toward the software.


Google, quite the opposite, goes from software to object, and it is this reversal that now gives it its supremacy. Hence its smartphone project kit - Ara - is based on modular blocks to better reflect the versatility of the Android system.


[Editor's Note: The announcement of Motorola's Project Ara said in part: "We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines."]


Hence Google Glass, those interactive glasses first thought of as an extension of the Internet rather than the body. Hence the recently opened 3,660 square foot Google Cultural Institute in Paris, the materialization of the group's digital work in the visual arts, for expressing how the digitalization of a painting makes it both imponderable and timeless.


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Symbolically, whenever there is a tangible reorganization of the Web, the latter is included in the former. And each time, the technological object is only an interface, a capturing device. It is no longer the body, with all of its impermanence, that carries the thought; but the thought - permanent - that produces the body. In this respect, aren't robots, perpetual expressions in the grand connected world, inevitably ahead of us poor humans?


Yes, this discomfort with Google's takeover of Boston Dynamics reflects a fear of being supplanted and defeated in the race for eternity. As Google's rhetoric proclaims, it seeks to make real a dream, aspiring to omnipresence and immortality. Mere amusements within the confines of synthetic countries and virtual lands - and the most humane place for such aspirations. Mirror, mirror on the wall ...


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