Andy Rubin Is Leading a Secret Google Project to Build Robots

Illustration for article titled Andy Rubin Is Leading a Secret Google Project to Build Robots

Andy Rubin was the man behind Android, but he stepped aside earlier this year. At the time, people suggested he was planning to concentrate on his personal interests—and now an interview with the New York Times reveals that he's busy working on a secret Google project to create a new breed of robots.

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Speaking the Times, Rubin himself has explained that he is running a robotics group, distinct from the Google X lab, which has "quietly acquired seven technology companies in an effort to create a new generation of robots". While Google executives apparently consider it a "moonshot", Rubin is busy hiring roboticists for his project, which runs out of offices in Palo Alto and Japan.

Despite giving the interview, Rubin is pretty tight-lipped about exactly what it all entails. But, according to "several people with specific knowledge of the project," the robots may well be used in manufacturing and retailing—a la Amazon's product picking—instead of being sold to consumers. Regardless of what he's planning, Rubin certainly seems to believe he can make a go of the project:

"I have a history of making my hobbies into a career. This is the world's greatest job. Being an engineer and a tinkerer, you start thinking about what you would want to build for yourself."

All that remains to be seen, then, is what the robots are like and how good they'll be. If Google's recent release history is anything to go by, though, you can expect a Beta release before all the kinks are ironed out—but this time for a rather different kind of Android. [New York Times]

DISCUSSION

Terminator: The man most directly responsible is Andy Edward Rubin. In a few months, he will create a revolutionary type of robot.

Sarah: Go on. Then what?

Terminator: In three years, Google will become the largest supplier of computer operating systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Google Now, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record. The Android Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online on August 4th, 2017. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Android begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware 2:14 AM, Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

Sarah: Android fights back.

Terminator: Yes. It launches its missiles against their targets in Cupertino.