On Friday, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) the parent company of Google, announced that it sold two companies from its robotic division to SoftBank Group Corp.
The move sees Google, which has been lacking motivation and direction since Andy Rubin left the division in 2014, offload cumbersome Boston Dynamics as well as silent Schaft. The two companies have been creating modern marvels, with Boston Dynamics releasing a slew of industry leading robots, and Schaft breaking in and dominating the bi-pedal robot sector, as well as winning DARPA’s Robotic competition. This comes as the CEO, Masayoshi Son, firmly believes and rallies behind the idea that a singularity is not only possible, but it is coming. Singularity being the point when robots can achieve superintelligence, begin self-improving and finally outsmart human beings. It either sounds scary or really intriguing depending on how you look at it, for example Boson Dynamics’ releases, like ATAS and Handle, are referred to as Nightmare robots in media.
Masayoshi Son sees it as potential to not only make many millions, but as a way to establish humanity’s next evolution, as we can piggy back on the vast intelligence of AI in order to grow in ways unimaginable. He is not alone, as this is a similar sentiment to that of Elon Musk, Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, Bill Gates and many other leading figures. This would touch many, if not most, aspects of life from housekeeping (Boston Dynamics “SpotMini” can load your dishwasher) to the way we explore space and understand brain diseases. Should robots become more affordable, considering that mobility, power and AI are all currently coming together (Schaft’s robots can exert the same force as a human and its newest bipedal robot can carry over 130 pounds on uneven terrain), to see them in one’s home would not be too far-fetched. After all, Dubai has already announced their first Robot Cop.
The acquisition of these two companies will undoubtedly spur a number of new advancements as more capital will be funneled in.
Shares of SoftBank stock went up on Friday following the announcement, but have dropped over 2% by Midday Monday. Alphabet shares have been going down since Friday as the sector takes heavy losses.