Google Is Scared of Boston Dynamics’ Terrifying Robots, Too
They’re so scared, they’re trying to sell the company off.
Remember that video of Boston Dynamics's humanoid robot Atlas that came out back in February? The one where the man-sized robot goes out for a stroll in the woods, picks up a boxes in a warehouse, and gets harassed by hockey stick-toting Massholes? Well, if it left you with an impending sense that mankind's time as the dominant beings on this planet is rapidly coming to a end—or even if you just thought it was super creepy—you're not alone. That video even scared the likes of Google.
But Google isn't worried for the same reasons you probably are—in fact, you freaking out is what's freaking them out. The tech dynamo, which has owned Boston Dynamics since late 2013, is worried that the negative PR from the Massachusetts-based robots company's projects is outweighing the practical benefits.
“There’s excitement from the tech press, but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs,” Google director of communications Courtney Hohne wrote in an inter-office email exchange, according to Bloomberg Business. She added that she'd like her co-workers to distance Google X, the company's experimental division, from the video, writing “we don’t want to trigger a whole separate media cycle about where [Boston Dynamics] really is at Google.”
Google was purportedly trying to sell Boston Dynamics even before the video came out, as the robotics start-up wasn't living up to the Silicon Valley titan's expectations. According to Bloomberg's sources, Google executives didn't see a way that the company could generate a marketable robot within the next few years, so decided instead to cut their losses.
But it's unlikely that Atlas and his kin will be left panhandling in Harvard Square. Both Toyota and Amazon are reportedly in talks with Google about buying the Boston company. So who knows—the next time you bring your Camry in to be serviced, you might be handing the keys over to a friendly, mechanical technician.
(Just kidding. We know you'd never buy a Camry.)