Terminator-Like Robots Being Developed by Google
Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction, but in this case it eerily echoes the popular Terminator film franchise. Terminator-like robots are under construction by a Google owned company. These semi-intelligent devices are a mad scientist’s and authoritarian’s dream (all that’s missing is the wicked laugh). Imagine, robots just like these keeping the rabble (us) under the thumb of a growing authoritarian government. However, a quick visit to the Boston Dynamics page on YouTube will reveal the typical, flowery PR flack pleasantry that is one of the cancers of our age.
Our mission is to build the most advanced robots on Earth, with remarkable mobility, agility, dexterity and speed.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Surely they’re developing robots that will help mankind. But if you look at the videos of what they’re developing, it’s easy to see how this type of machinery could soon have frightening applications for the military and police, and it’s obvious this isn’t machinery that will not be tasked with brewing tea for grandma and giving her a foot massage. Imagine a line of these coming at you, armed with weapons.
Boston Dynamics research and development for these machines has been funded by DARPA, the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA was founded in 1958 after Sputnik embarrassed the United States, marking the beginning of the Space Race. The agency’s mission today is to surprise other nations with war technology rather than them surprising us. But, where will this dance of death ultimately lead? Surely, nobody wants to see Skynet or its equivalent in our future, but it appears that’s exactly what’s being built. Here’s a look at some of their robots. Some models have already been used in the real world by the U.S. military.
Imagine the Atlas model or its successors someday replacing human soldiers on the battlefield or at your local police department. The Defense Department says Atlas will initially be used for search and rescue tasks. You have to start small to lull the public into accepting this machines. The Atlas model can already complete the following tasks as of 2015:
- Drive a utility vehicle.
- Travel dismounted across rubble.
- Remove debris blocking an entryway.
- Open a door and enter a building.
- Climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway.
- Use a tool to break through a concrete panel.
- Locate and close a valve near a leaking pipe.
- Connect a fire hose to a standpipe and turn on a valve
Atlas is the model most like the T-101 from the Terminator series. While obviously not as advanced, it is not hard to imagine what more research and development will do to turn this clumsy looking prototype into a lean, mean machine. Another model similar to Atlas has already been used by the military.
Big Dog (Spot)
The Big Dog was released in 2005 and discontinued in 2015, although much of the technology developed in the Big Dog program will continue to be used in other models. Big Dog is about the size of a small mule. Wired magazine writes:
Spot’s life-like motions are uncanny, but when you add emergent, collective behavior—which can sometimes be unpredictable—the possibilities get downright scary. Will Spot’s group dynamics stop at the point of swarming like locusts? (Ominous.) Will they cluster into self-protecting balls like sardines? (Less so.) Or could they end up as smart and responsive as humans?
The current Spot has the following specifications, and should be considered as a mere test bed for the real aims of its developers:
- 2.5 feet tall
- Walks at 4 mph
- Can traverse difficult terrain, up to 35° of incline
- Can carry 350 lbs
- Laser gyroscope provides balance
- Stereo vision provides sight
This model was used by the U.S. military, and was designed to accompany Marines wherever they go. It was a mechanical “pack mule” designed to help them carry large loads of gear and equipment. Using terrain sensing and GPS, this model was very capable and very versatile. The next robotic animal isn’t as big, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in speed.
Perhaps the most frightening model thus far is the Cheetah. The prototype has already set records for robots as it can run at speeds over 28 mph as seen in this video. The choice of names also reveals a bit about what the ultimate goal of engineers is: The Cheetah test robot can already run faster than the world’s fastest human. But the military really wants a mechanical animal that can run faster than the world’s fastest cat someday. (About 75mph!)
Sure, Cheetah looks gangly and wobbly now and needs its control arm, but imagine a few more years or decades of research and development and billions or trillions of dollars poured into this project. I like to think of it as the Apple II of fast moving robots. Wait until the figurative Windows 95 and later models arrive. YouTube commenter Scott Matheson has the right idea.
In the future running from the cops will mean having to outrun one of these things which will probably also be equipped with all sorts of amusing weaponry to subdue, maim, obliterate the hapless quarry. (Crooks, killers, opposition party members…)
There is no question a model like Cheetah is being developed for military and police state use. Sangbee Kim told reporters Cheetah is now able to perform quite a few acrobatics as refinement of the technology proceeds.
It’s the first legged robot to be able leap hurdles like this autonomously. Many other robots can move faster on wheels, or maybe jump higher, but they can’t do it on their own.
This model already uses LIDAR for vision, allowing the “brain” of the unit to map and traverse terrain. It can traverse 90% of obstacles on the treadmill, but only 70% in the real world. Kim says improvements in Cheetah circuitry will overcome these problems. To see what engineers like Kim really have in mind, have a look at the blueprint for a leaner, meaner machine.
A more advanced model of the Cheetah is already on the drawing board. As you can see above, the advanced model looks much more like a biological animal, and has a number of design features that would make it a formidable foe. This makes the end goal of these robots clear.
The prospect of a mechanical Cheetah with the speed and agility of the real animal but with a robotic skeleton and hivemind connected brain obviously would render policemen (already under attack by a Marxist government) totally obsolete.
Quite honestly, the Advanced Cheetah eclipses any mechanical animal in the original Terminator films. Even the imagination of Hollywood was no match for the emerging reality of robotics. The Advanced Cheetah would be a supreme force multiplier, the wet dream of many a maniacal despot of millennia past. Business author Josh Kaufman explains the concept of the force multiplier:
Using a hammer multiplies the magnitude of the force you’re exerting and concentrates that force into a small area, making it easy to drive a nail in a single stroke. Saws, screwdrivers, and other tools work the same way — they amplify and concentrate a small input into a larger output. The most effective tools amplify force in the greatest magnitude. A power saw is far more effective at multiplying force than a handsaw is. A dump truck can carry more than a wheelbarrow. A rocket can launch a payload farther than a slingshot.
Continuing Kaufman’s theme, a mechanical cheetah can take out more politically incorrect dissent than a real cheetah. The military and police know all about force multipliers, which is why taxpayer money has quietly been poured into this project.
WildCat is an untethered version of Cheetah, which runs at speeds up to 19 miles per hour. Think of WildCat as a testbed for the real goal, which is the mechanical Cheetah blueprint pictured above. Boston Dynamics writes:
WildCat is a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain. So far WildCat has run at about 16 mph on flat terrain using bounding and galloping gaits. The video shows WildCat’s best performance so far. WildCat is being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA’s M3 program.
It is already quite agile, able to run not only in a straight line but also do turns quickly. The video reveals much more research and development is needed to make the WildCat viable as it slips and falls when performing one of its high-speed maneuvers. But, before scoffing at WildCat remember what computers did in 1985 vs. what they did in 2005. In 20 short years computing technology advanced from novelty to necessity. Given enough R&D, these machines could be showing up on street corners near you within a generation, along with Orwellian cameras already doing everything from ticketing traffic light offenders to now sending them speeding tickets.
There is also a model called the The Little Dog, which is a miniature version of the Big Dog. Its primary use thus far is as a research and development tool for other robots, with special emphasis on locomotion. Boston Dynamics was recently acquired by America’s own hivemind, Skynet style company.
Acquisition by Google
In 2013, Boston Dynamics was acquired by GoogleX, a semi-secret research and development agency owned by Google. Boston Dynamics was the eighth robotics company acquired by Google at the time. Google has also announced that it plans to “dominate” artificial intelligence (AI). It’s not hard to see how Google’s robots will be combined with its AI program. The laughable New York Times article at the time suggested these machines might someday be used for the elderly.
The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.
What are the potential implications of opening this Pandora’s box? Google has recently set up an AI ethics panel, but not much is known about what they are discussing. Perhaps one of the biggest questions is, when will we see a hybrid of Google AI and the robots it is developing? Is this something that will benefit mankind? Or will it be used as a force multiplier against the masses? After all, there’s nothing better for tyranny than a soldier or enforcement officer that has no feelings of guilt or remorse for what they’re inflicting on society.
Some of the world’s leading scientists and engineers including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned this merger of AI and robotics could have potentially disastrous consequences for mankind. They and thousands of other scientists signed an open letter urging extreme caution in this Brave New World blurring the lines between biology and machinery. There are special reasons to be worried when oligarchy, psychopathy, and greed are what the U.S. government and organizing world government operates under.
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