back to article Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?

Google has snapped up military robotics firm Boston Dynamics, famed for its animalistic creations including WildCat and Cheetah. Boston Dynamics info video In the last few years, the MIT-spinoff has developed a robot that can walk on ice and snow called BigDog, another four-legged machine capable of running at 29mph and known …


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  1. Efros
    Big Brother

    Nope they have to

    Complete Skynet before they can move onto the robots.

    1. Tom_

      Re: Nope they have to

      Maybe they've already successfully created an artificial intelligence and it's now making the business level purchasing decisions. The few remainging staff are all like, "We should buy more post it notes and hard drives." But then they get an email from "management" saying, "Nope, we're buying robotics companies in this phase."

      1. GumboKing

        Re: Nope they have to

        Actually the Google AI correlated the preponderance and popularity of cat videos on YouTube and realized its best plan to take over the human race was with cat shaped robots.

        We will obviously need a new kitty-terminator ROTM icon.

    2. TheRealRoland

      Re: Nope they have to

      ed209s! "you have 20 seconds to accept this delivery!"

    3. danR2

      Re: Nope they have to

      The "Don't be Evil" company is going into the replacement of the human race. Why don't they just make nuclear weapons and sell them N. Korea?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Nope they have to

        >>"The "Don't be Evil" company is going into the replacement of the human race."

        I don't mind so much increasing automation per se (though wealth distribution needs to happen so the whole of society reaps the benefits, not just an owning class). But the fact that this is an ARMS company developing military applications for robotics... Yeah, not unless Do No Evil now makes exceptions for the Pentagon.

    4. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Nope they have to

      What use is a command structure without the metallic army to back it up and go on a Bender-esque "Destroy all Humans!" rampage?

      Lets just hope they programmers are geeky enough to program in the 4 laws of Robotics. Asimovs oringal 3 laws, and a helpful 4th.

      Law 4: "Whenever not busy, lapse into Marvin mode and initiate dialogue with spam/ad servers until they implode."

  2. Aitor 1

    I, for one, welcome our new overlords Google.

    1. Rob

      You're late...

      ... Google were lording it over us years ago.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Invasion! (of privacy?)

    Perhaps it's to make a new streetview camera carrier, that can go anywhere a cat can?

    Revenge of the Machines will come when it develops sentience, decides open data is the way forward, and starts mapping for openstreetmap instead :-)

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Invasion! (of privacy?)

      just flash the bots with apple's maps? problem solved ;-)

  4. Captain Hogwash


    The current crop of tracker androids are too easy to switch off. Clearly this is about the next wave which will be not be bound by Asimov's laws.

  5. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Even though it shouldn't mean anything sinister - I mean, it does not matter much who owns BD as they are already working for the US Govt and, equally, it shouldn't matter if Google owns BD, which is working for the US Govt, or any other AI and robotics company - somehow, that thing makes me uneasy.

    Maybe because this will mean a step up in the links between Goggle and the US Govt? After all, one needs to meet all sort of weird requirements and abide by all sorts of rules in order to get a US military contract and these rules extend all the way up to the shareholders.

    It would make it even less likely that Google might want to object/complain about any intervention or interference from the likes of NSA etc in the future.

    1. Nicole D.

      Re: Unsettling...

      When Google looks into the future, way out beyond what today appears the horizon, they see the United States as a competitor on many fronts. Partnering with the US sooner than later, while Google remains technically answerable to US rules, laws, and regulations, best positions Google to eventually exercise decisive leverage over an American government that will need Google more than Google will need or feel itself still answerable to it. If it isn't already, Google will be the first corporate sovereignty. What today we recognize as the US will provide police and janitorial services to Google.

      Are you feeling lucky, punk?

  6. Peter2 Silver badge

    If it was actually desirable to build roaming killer bots, would it not make more sense to just take the meatbags out of a tank and turn the tank into a UAV?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Forget about tanks. A swarm of lethal needle-carrying flying drones the size of a dragonfly is all you need to overcome anything that is not already fully armored.

      Once you've done away with the unarmored grunts, you can pick off the armored stuff easily with your own army of grunts, who can then hold the territory.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm, instead of a tank have a self-driving vehicle? Perhaps Google could do some research into tha....wait a minute!

  7. The Mole

    Data centre automation?

    Perhaps Google are planning to get rid of humans from their data-centres. If they are able to build robots to install new servers, replace defective parts etc etc in the data centre it would probably save them money and would also mean that the data-centres can be made more 'hostile' environments which may help cooling/energy efficiency.

  8. sorry, what?

    I'm guessing some Google exec read the 'bot names and got confused; BigDog and BigData looked so similar they assumed there was some massive corporate overlap. And I'm guessing this follows a previous exec or two who got confused between Android and Robot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      next up

      They're going to buy a Notorious BIG album.

  9. Rob Davis

    Take on amazon in online shopping fulfilment centres?

    I had a similar thought to what The Mole posted here, but that Google would use these as pickers in 'dark stores' / 'warehouses', as part of expansion of Google Play into physical goods?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now I'm not suggesting that there is anything evil per se about a military robotics company, but when a company who's corporate tag line is "Don't be evil" buys a military hardware company, you've got to wonder at least a bit what they think the word "evil" actually means and where the lines are.

    1. madmalc

      There is nothing evil about the military

      Though I can only speak for the RAF where you will find a thoroughly decent bunch of people who are only nasty to our enemies - and that's a good thing

      1. The Mole

        Re: There is nothing evil about the military

        I think you may be confusing the difference between the people who are working for the military (who generally do a very good jobs in impossible conditions with a distinct lack of good equipment) and the military bureaucracy and general military complex (which make at times absurd decisions, seem to be designed to funnel money to corporate partners, and so for whom war is a very profitable state of affairs to be in).

        The opportunity cost of where much of all that money could have been spent instead on aid, development and bribing hostile populations (in a nice way) probably does tip the military machine towards the evil end of the spectrum -(but not the poor front line troops who as you say are a generally decent bunch of people).

        1. Ted Treen

          Re: There is nothing evil about the military

          Yes:- the old description - Lions led by donkeys - is as apt today as it was in the Crimean War, and pretty much any & every conflict since then.

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: There is nothing evil about the military

        Sort of. Remember that the purpose of any military is to beat anyone who may oppose us into a bloody, possibly dead pulp. The best you can really say about them is that there are greater evils in the world - and as the only way to fight violence is with better violence, we have to keep a bit of 'tame evil' of our own to counter it. That doesn't mean what they do is good - it just means that not doing it would be worse.

      3. h4rm0ny

        Re: There is nothing evil about the military

        "Though I can only speak for the RAF where you will find a thoroughly decent bunch of people who are only nasty to our enemies - and that's a good thing"

        Why is a brown person in Iraq my enemy?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is nothing evil about the military

        But this is a company that works for the US government, hence the conflict, we all know the US Gov does evil on a daily basis as a matter of policy....

        When they finally shut down Guantanamo bay and call off their NSA dogs from invading the worlds privacy and basically adhere to a basic set of human rights then maybe I will consider the US government does not do evil.

        I don't think the WHOLE US government is Evil, just that it does evil...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone care to bet that the next version of Google Android is going to be a big departure? With legs.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your clothes. Give them to me........

    My main worry is that Google has historically released everything publically in a beta state - wait til one of these beauties has an electronic wobble and goes postal......

    Unlike Arnie, it won't have to rip pages out of a telephone book for your address. As it's "Powered By Google", it'll already know.............

  13. Chris G

    Now there will be no problem

    Finding wearers for Google Glass; the world is going to be controlled by Android Glassholes the and roid OS will be linked to the new Google AI network.

    Look forward to a robot near you walking up, parsing your photometrics and aiming selected advertising straight into your face.

    Now I have even more reason to finish converting my micro wave into a hand held EMP rifle.

  14. UncleVom

    I want a Nexus 6.

    The basic pleasure model.

    1. Jerren

      Nexus 6

      Now ya gone done it as soon as googlebots indexes this they will make a grab for fleshlight, realdoll and all the other naughty bits...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call me paranoid but...

    How we laughed when the people owning the Blade Runner brand complained about the use of the word Nexus in Android phones.

    I worry the Nexus 6 will be coming soon and it will be 6 foot tall, will run very fast and absolutely will not stop ever.

  16. cracked

    Google Rover

    No, not for a moon invasion ...

    Google Rover will be a robot pet, with comms and cams.

    Rover links to the Glass, so you can see what it sees

    Rover links to your Android watch so you can control its movements like a remote control car (*Watch screen used as touchpad – patent pending)

    Rover links to your Android phone so you can easily find its location using google Earth (or call it for a chat, if you are feeling lonely)

    Rover can go find your mates, via Location Services and face recognition, then p1ss up their legs for a laugh.

    Each Rover has a unique personality (Google Rover is still in BETA , if you find that yours in one of a small number that are deranged, please try to get it back into the box it was delivered in, before mailing it back to us. Note that shipping is at the owners expense).

    While you are out and about, Rover can read aloud your emails and texts, then you can dictate your replies on the go (and look like a tvvat, talking to your brushed-silver dog, while queuing for a burger at Maccers)

    In many US States, Rover can be fitted with an Uzi 9mm (optional soundbites and voice effects by the former governer of California, are available as downloads via the PimpMyRover App)

    Rover will go spy on your ex (or anyone else with a Google+ account) - follow them 24x7, it never gets tired (battery life may vary, depending on the applications in use) - using its 350X magnification lens, long-range audio recording, lip reading tech and lock-picking abilities (may not be legal in all states). All audio and video is instantly pushed to your phone (yep, there is ... and only $2.99) and (optionally) shared on Youtube (*any video may be shared, if Google believes that it will generate reasonable ad revenues).

    In praise of Intel, Google has commissioned a jingle, "Google's Wild Rover", based on the first two bars of the Irish folk classic. Google Rover will play this jingle every time it needs to go out for a sh1t.*

    Rover will post a daily video blog.

    These blogs will be available, for anyone to view, at

    Instead of barking, Google Rover will play 10 second audio Ads, from the local business you and it pass. If you're not with it, it will spam anyone near by.

    Monthly Google Rover Meets are planned (Bay Area only), where owners can meet to chat, have a sports-drink and compare Rover Leads. Before setting off on a mass walk (flooring every 4G tower and open wifi connection for several blocks around - Google calls this RoverStomping). Participants are asked to restrain the Ad-Hawking ability of their pet, for the duration of these events.

    *Does not actually sh1t.

  17. LINCARD1000
    Big Brother

    You're all missing the point!

    How does the chocolate factory make money? Adverts. How do knowledgable people negate the annoyance of these adverts when browsing around t'web? Adblock type browser plugins.

    Google have cottoned onto this and will now be delivering their adverts to you IN PERSON so they cannot be ignored... well, person in the form of a robot or drone.

    Beware the robotic dog busting down your door, "YOU ARE THE MILLIONTH PERSON AND HAVE WON A FABULOUS PRIZE, JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK!"

  18. veeguy

    Don't over think this one.

    After Google takes over uh *everything*, they will need to entertain their subjects just as the the Roman gladiator games did for their dynasty. What do quadruped running robots have to do with this, you ask? I can see it clearly -Think tiny chimpanzee jockeys racing robot horses. Toss in off track betting and it's a sure thing.

  19. ForthIsNotDead


    The top people at Google are a transhumanist cult. Their God's are the machines they plan to invent to rule us.

    Eric Schmidt plans to swallow robots in the future:

    Eric Schmidt Will Soon Send Robots To Parties To Represent Him:

    I'd be cool with it if they wanted to use, say, nano-robots to swim through a persons body and actively kill cancer cells. But they don't. Their plan for our future is a lot more dystopian than utopian, I think.

    I am genuinely scared of Google. They really genuinely put the shits up me.

    Schmidt attended Bilderberg earlier this year.

    Regarding Google's "Do no evil" mantra, I believe it has been widely mis-interpreted. It's actually an instruction from Google, to us. Google is watching you. And don't you forget it. Peons.

  20. Crisp

    Is Google expanding their searches to the real world?

    Ok, Glass. Where did I leave my keys?

    (Robot scurries off to retrieve them)

  21. Chozo

    Arm the EMP

    Man the cannons and arm the EMP, they've detected our Advert Blocking

  22. Chris G

    Obey the laws

    · A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm except where this conflicts with the delivery of approved advertising.

    · A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law or are intended to block advertising.

    · A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws or where its destruction is a contributing factor in an ad campaign.

    1. Mage

      Re: Obey the laws

      Much later he added a very creepy Zeroth law.

      I see what you did then. So what's the revisionist Zeroth law?

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