Why Google Wants to Sell Its Robots: Reality Is Hard

It’s been a week of extremes for Google’s artificial intelligence efforts, as the company luxuriates in the afterglow of winning a board game tournament against one of the world’s top players, while it privately tries to sell one of its most visible robotics efforts. Google’s decision to try to shed its Boston Dynamics robotics group highlights a fundamental research problem: software is far easier to develop and test than hardware. That’s especially true when dealing with artificial intelligence and robotics. Today’s industrial robots tend to be dumb machines, operating on pre-programmed routines, and are housed in metal cages to stop people walking into their zone of movement and potentially getting harmed. With Boston Dynamics, Google was working on machines that could break out of the rigid confines of the factory…


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