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Google Robotics

Andy Rubin Is Heading a Secret Robotics Project At Google 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the smells-like-the-animatrix dept.
sfcrazy writes "The creator of the most sought after 'Android' of the world has been secretly working on creating a robotics division within Google. The search engine giant has acquired over seven robotics companies recently to create the robotics unit which is being headed by none other than Andy Rubin himself. Andy made the disclosure in an interview given to the New York Times." Their initial goal is to automate the woefully manual process of electronics manufacturing.
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Andy Rubin Is Heading a Secret Robotics Project At Google

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  • by waspleg (316038) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:02PM (#45596691) Journal

    (arguably it was never really successful. I'll reference Bill Hicks for that)

            "Now I'm no bleeding heart, okay? But, when you're walking
            down the streets of New York City and you're stepping over
            a guy on the sidewalk who, I don't know, might be dead...
            does it ever occur to you to think 'Wow, maybe our system
            doesn't work?' Does that thought ever bubble up out of you?"

  • by Catbeller (118204) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:05PM (#45596717) Homepage

    Woefully for whom? The last few manufacturing jobs in the industry and the people who work them are woeful?

    Where the hell is anyone going to get a job other than cleaning rich people's toilets? Hell, there's probably a robot for that.

    Shantytowns are illegal most everywhere, so people can't even squat in the mud and eat trash in peace when they lose their livelihoods. Should we just suggest 90% of the planet's human population just get it over with and off itself?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:16PM (#45596899)

    in the late 1800's over 90% of the working population was employed in farming. today it's less than 5%. what happened to all these people? why don't we have 90% unemployment? first manufacturing took up the slack. now its office and leisure jobs

    1800's there was no entertainment or leisure industry except for traveling musicians. today we have a huge entertainment industry along with a vacation and leisure industry. money doesn't vanish, it gets invested in new businesses

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:25PM (#45597021)

    Where the hell is anyone going to get a job other than cleaning rich people's toilets? Hell, there's probably a robot for that.

    I hope so. Can we finally get rid of the "people aren't real people unless they work themselves to death" mentality and just accept the fact that you don't need 7 billion people to allow 7 billion people to live comfortably?

  • by xtal (49134) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:26PM (#45597051) Homepage

    It's called a guaranteed minimum income.

    The writing is on the wall, and creative endeavors that humans enjoy will dominate more of society. Isn't that what we all want? To do what we want?

    The concept is from the right, it's been around for a long time, and it's a fairly straightforward implementation. If a society is rich enough that the production costs approach zero, then ..

    Of course, it smells a lot like the dreaded socialism monster. Or worse.. red pink communism!

    There's no rocket science here. It will happen eventually, as the poor people get to vote. Either with ballots, or otherwise.

  • by braindrainbahrain (874202) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:30PM (#45597095)

    Exactly what part of electronics manufacturing needs to be automated? The cheap prices and mass production of electronics we currently enjoy is partly due to widespread use of pick-and-place machines [wikipedia.org] and wave soldering machines [wikipedia.org]. I'm sure there are some manual steps in the assembly, but that is only the last 10 - 20% of the labor involved in manufacturing. The bulk of it has been automated for decades.

  • by Catbeller (118204) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:39PM (#45597235) Homepage

    The sky did fall. The protestors of the 1800's were correct. The people displaced by technology in the 1800s fell into poverty and early death, and England, for instance, was home to immense poverty and despair. We don't want to remember, which is not the same thing as not-happened. We choose to remember the happy industrialist and middle-class lifestyles which came from impoverishing the workers, not the majority of miserable people they created by re-distributing the wealth from the majority of the working people to their own class.

    thing to remember is that the people who were protesting their replacement by machines weren't really asking for history to be rolled back - they wanted to be *cut in on the profits* created by removing them from the books. They wanted some income redistribution. They lost. Since they didn't run university history courses, as industrialists did, they have been expunged from our collective memory and rendered into silly people who didn't want to stop making horse collars by hand.

    The price of all this will be misery, violence, hunger and early death for hundreds of millions of people, eventually, if history repeats. Looks like "yes". And no one will want to take notice, other than intense coverage of the violence in the "bad" neighborhoods.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:46PM (#45597319)

    Seriously, what is our long term goal as humans?

    Oh, I don't know -- maybe not having to spend half our waking hours, for over half our lives, doing something that we'd rather not be doing, except that we'll be homeless and starving otherwise?

    Sure, there are some of us lucky enough to get paid for doing what we'd choose to do anyway. There are even a lot of us who would make terribly unwise choices about what to do with our time if we didn't have to work for a living. But if we have a grand refactoring that separates "earning a living" from "having a career", I'm not sure it's necessarily a catastrophe.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:49PM (#45597351)

    The company I work for has a 5000 sq meter manufacturing facility packed full of robots - and only 5 engineers and 10 technicians. The manufacturing, assembly, packing and shipping are all automated. Even the maintenance is mostly automated.

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @02:51PM (#45598197)

    While I agree, I think you overstate what they wanted.

    People aren't that complicated. They aren't really interested in getting a cut of the profits. They aren't particularly interested in income distribution.

    What people want is to be OK. It really doesn't get any simpler than that. And people who used to be OK and then were suddenly not OK being displaced by a machine... are going to protest.

    And there's nothing wrong with that. I find the language we have to use today absolutely silly. As if you need to have a moral reason to just want to be OK. We feel the need to demonize profits and say its only fair workers get a cut of the profits. And what about the person who ever had a good job to begin with? And they suddenly not deserving of the cut of profits?

    Let's be honest about it. People want to be OK.
    And when you have something disruptive, the society had better make sure there are ways to be OK.

    Maybe it's income redistribution.
    Maybe it's government creating jobs for people.
    Maybe it's getting out of government so the cost of living goes down.
    Maybe it's organizing work sharing programs so more the actual work is spread out.
    Maybe it's training people for new work. ...

    Whatever it is... but people just want to be OK... and that's a good enough moral reason to do something. You don't need anything else beyond that. You are a person and you want to live a comfortable life.

It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes

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