To cleanse the palate, watch this and guesstimate how many years away we are, realistically, from producing an ED-209. Twenty, maybe? Relatedly, how many modifications would need to be made to this thing, “Handle,” to create a formidable robo-soldier? Stick a cannon on each arm, wrap it in Kevlar, put a camera on top and you’ve got an infantry drone. Imagine being a lookout at the local jihadi warlord’s compound and seeing a few hundred of these rolling up in the distance. Hopefully the military will need to hire lots and lots of drone operators for their new fleet, as there’ll be lots and lots of layoffs across American industries once this thing is ready for basic labor.
In case you’re an optimist and believe that “Handle” won’t eventually take over the world and subjugate humanity, note that its designer, Boston Dynamics, is a subsidiary of … Google, a company whose mission pretty much is to take over the world and subjugate humanity. Good news, though: Google has been looking to sell Boston Dynamics for the past year, partly because its products won’t be marketable in the near term and partly because, according to a leaked email from a director of communications at Google, “There’s excitement from the tech press [about Boston Dynamics’ model robots], but we’re also starting to see some negative threads about it being terrifying, ready to take humans’ jobs.” Terrifying? What, this?