Google has become one of the most invasive companies on the face of the planet. That’s because most of their work is done in private spheres and it has been undertaken voluntarily. People eagerly sign up for Google’s products and services failing to realize that they are the raw material from which Google builds their systems. Such is the trade off when you have the convenience and access to information that now transforms our world.
But nothing is free. As Google expands their offerings and their acquisition of information, they gradually morph their company into something far different than when it started. Another disturbing trend is the acquisition of companies that design death machines – literally. Google recently acquired Boston Dynamics, a company that was funded by DARPA to build various robots that imitate the natural movement of organisms to meet various needs. Their stated purpose is to “develop robots that ran and maneuvered like animals”.
The future is looking awesome! http://t.co/iFA53b9qDC
— Andy Rubin (@Arubin) December 14, 2013
Here are some examples of what the future may look like.
The development of technology has always been something of a dubious process for mankind. The various arguments about the potential of a new technology have been both positive and negative and in this case, one must be careful not to run off statements of great hyperbole. Yet, once our tools start to become active participants in our world, as opposed to passive pieces, we run the risk of creating an altered reality that greatly increases the possibility for centralized control and tyranny.
Could the application of the technologies developed by Boston Dynamics be employed for the great benefit of humanity by Google? Yes. Prosthetic limbs for people disfigured in accidents and other tragic events could be greatly enhanced. Then again, the hammer could swing the other way as we develop machines for exterminating our fellow man through the touches of a button or manipulation of a joystick. Or even just by saying a word. More food for thought on the unfolding of this trend appeared in an article on Forbes by Patrick Lin.
A hammer can be used to build a house or bludgeon the skull of our neighbor. Free will is the wild card here. But what is the true will of a company like Google? A company who has totally changed from what it once was into what it is today – and who knows what it will be tomorrow.