Meaning well can do harm. James points out the destruction a suicide awareness campaign can do. Naturally the “RT to cure suicide” types are furious. They remind me of those who sent their kin to Magdelne Laundries.
So the world or a tiny subset of the world that has the time to be interested in things about robots, had multiple double takes when Google bought Boston Dynamics, the military robot maker. It turns out that Google has been very busy buying robotics companies, not just Boston Dynamics.
Google has always been about using algorithms to replace humans or at least automating tasks. via Forbes:
A little more specifically, the New York Times has noted, Page has “argued that technology should be deployed wherever possible to free humans from drudgery and repetitive tasks.”
What work do humans in Google do right now? What cerebral and physical tasks can be replaced?
All these books published and printed and not a single digital copy. Libraries of books that could be scanned in and shared with humanity. Of what Google scans in, they need operators of scanning machines since books are not uniform in size and texture. You can spot hands in some of the scans like this blog talks about.
Data Centre Work
While Google data centres are mostly about servers and don’t need humans, they still need humans and humans need to be catered for in data centres. Google data centres run hot, higher temperatures mean less money and energy spent on cooling. Google data centres are efficient enough and they have staff in shorts and t-shirts in there because they run warm. Humans are probably a bottle-neck in custom made data centres.
Aisles are made for humans to fit in so they can swap out failing equipment. Bottle neck. Google spent $1.9 billion buying the old New York Port Authority which just happens to be a location for the best fibre connections in America. Kevin Slavin in his TED talk about algorithms talked about Skyscrapers in New York being gutted to house data centres. Imagine how inefficient one of these would be because of the shape and because of catering for humans. If Google made skyscraper data centres like Japanese automated car parks though:
Fires need oxygen to keep going, as do humans. Eliminating oxygen in data centres is a good way to stop fires spreading but you can’t have humans then. Robots are cool though, right? One wonders can you have oxygen free data centres?
Mapping and live traffic reports
Obvious section this. Mapping seems obvious since Google already has cars and trikes going around the place (and even people with backpacks). Google already does driverless cars. So drones. And low and behold the FAA now are allowing trials of pilotless drones. No more traffic helicopters thanks to Google traffic drones. Helicopter pilots are very expensive and not that common, many are ex-military because you need so many thousands of flying hours to fly commercial.
Google needs data centres all around the world. As developing countries boot up and become more web connected, more data centres will need to be deployed. Remember the idea of Google dropping shipping containers that were data centres to spots that needed them?
As the wildest and most far flung parts of the world become flattened and connected, they’ll need data centres. They’ll also need infrastructure for those data centres. Why not use drones, driverless vehicles and robots to build them out and to connect them? On that, reliability is important too so having drones guard your electricity supply and repair it is also important. Humans do this today:
Don’t forget underwater cable repair too!
Remember that Google is now a hardware company as well. They own Motorola and all the hardware parts of that. They seem to be making a loss year after year with it but making the hardware section more efficient with robots could be something good. If they were to take their expertise at making processes more efficient then their hardware factories and partner factories could in theory pump out high quality smartphones like the Moto X and newer versions of Google Glass that don’t cost over €1500 a pair.
RobotDroid – What if
Despite working on mobile possibly longer than Apple, Google were way behind with their mobile initiative and are still playing catch up with Apple on this. The idea of making an operating system open source (to a degree) and free to use has made Android the number one Internet operating system out there and more Android phones than Apple phones are being sold. Apple phones still seem to be used more and for higher value purposes.
So maybe this time when robots and drones will eventually become mainstream, Google wants to be out the gap first and have the momentum and be the main platform for building robots on? All those robots and drones with sensors that feed into Google services. All that information. Apple are always good at coming into a market late and taking the higher end of said market and then going lower into it but Apple may not be the dominant force in the robot world, they’re still a consumer company. Probably going to be a while before consumers use robots.
This is a Google robot:
Maybe too far
Airdrops of 3d printers for what, I don’t know. News robots in war zones. instructional robots. Google Robot Dog Tracks. Remember too that Google has often given away IP and knowledge if it makes the world more efficient which helps Google be more efficient. They bought Urchin, turned it into Google Analytics and gave it away for free. So there could be something in that too.
Lastly, Robots are just fucking cool, Google can afford to play with expensive but fun things.
Get Running with the Irish Times. Online course to help Irish Times readers to get into running in 2014. I like this idea of trying to be a core part of the lives/routines of their readers and not just a random part now and then.
Tape over your camera on your laptop and phone too if you are very paranoid. They’re remotely switching them on.
Griel Marcus’ commencement address for the 2013 graduating class of New York’s School of Visual Arts on high versus low culture and the false division. He rallies against this kind of bullshit:
As to whether the new, DiCaprio-ed edition of “Gatsby” would be socially acceptable to carry around in public, Mr. Cassem of McNally Jackson offered a firm no. “I think it would bring shame,” he said, “to anyone who was trying to read that book on the subway.”
Everyone going ape that people like Mrs Brown’s Boys and it beat Doctor Who in the ratings. High brow, low brow. Low brow low brow really. And in a similar vein:
There are tens of millions of people who will stop in their tracks at this commercial and wipe a tear from their eye. As a result, they will feel slightly more attached to Apple, which is the marketing purpose of this spot.
I’ve known Barry from the days of Boards, then Digiweb, then LastMinute and now GrabOne. Barry is one of only a few that I feel is better at digital marketing and planning than me. (That’s not an ego thing, much). I’ve attended talks and workshops that he’s given and always come out of it richer with knowledge, which is why I’m always nagging him to do courses for my clients. His constant strive for bettering himself and more knowledge is admirable and something I want to do but rarely get round to. 2014 by just probability is going to be a good year for Barry.
Dylan Varian Dylan has been doing the business thing since 17, has worked for himself and worked for Trustev. If you have that much experience before 20 and you stick with it, you’re going to do well. Or maybe totally burn out and run a small scented candles store near a surfing and tourism spot.
Niall Smart, Cormac Driver
They’re at it again. More Irish Y-Combinator alumni. Sold their last company to Real Networks. Now both doing different things but in New York. Cormac is head of product at Temboo which is an SDK that gives you access to 100+ APIs. The Internet of Everything goes their pitch. A perfect platform to create your own web app. Be interesting to see how this tool kit fast tracks a lot of new tech startups.
Niall is now CTO in Hightower and they just landed $2.1 million in investment and are bringing realtors to the 21st century with their software. This should be a fun space to watch.
In fairness I was a mentor to Christian so I know his business quite well. Christian’s company Fonesense is now in the Wayra incubation programme and they’re getting some great meetings with some very nice companies. You can tell they’re going places when Government Ministers want in on their success. Selfie with Bruton in 5, 4, 3 … And like the lads above, Christian already has had previous success with the Cabbage texting app for Android.
Only barely done the Leaving, that she wrote about for the Indo and she’s out in IADT now doing what she’s good at: videos. Wait a few years and see what she’ll be directing.
Lastly, going back to two I’ve featured before but a revisit is always worth it.
Alexia Golez Alexia is now working for Trustev (that’s two Trustevees on the list this year) and featured on the list in 2011, so not that long ago. She’s not been in Trustev that long so her impact and the impact of a startup culture on her should make 2014 interesting for them both.
Dena Walker Dena is back in Ireland, maybe back for good. Featured in Ones to Watch 2010 edition. Herself and Barry Hand are the book ends of this post. Two people in Digital Marketing who understand marketing/digital strategy better than me and most people. Thank god there’s a voice that calls bullshit in an industry that rewards bullshit. No, I meant the marketing industry, not green tech.