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Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Sees Money in Robotics

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted December 16, 2013

Is Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) trying to replace workers with automated machines? Some would certainly think so, and the company’s fascination with mobile robots may have some workers a bit nervous.

Japan far surpass the U.S. when it comes to mobile robotics to the point where advanced AI is assisting the sick and elderly in their homes. And Google is hoping to one day be the pioneer to introduce this trend to the U.S. market.

robot 25A particular trend within the manufacturing sector is having humans and machines working side by side. This is nothing new, since there are already machine arms that weld car parts, with humans adding the nuts and bolts, conducting inspections, etc.

Google is hoping that mobile robots will also be able to work with humans, but the technology and complex software needed is not achievable just yet.

Still, the industry is growing, with a projected figure of $20.2 billion by 2016, Time reports.

We know humans and automation have long co-existed, but companies like Google are hoping to introduce cheap robotic technology that will cater to employers looking to improve efficiency. And Google engineers believe that affordable robotics will be able to uplift the dire state of the economy – although I’m sure out-of-work job seekers would disagree.

Will Humans Be Phased Out?

While Google is hoping to advance the potential of robotics to its furthest possible outcome, there is no ill intent in trying to replace humans with machines. If anything, the Google championing of robotics is more of a movement than anything else. Many hedge funds and traders already use sophisticated AI to compete in the marketplace, and now Google is hoping to apply AI in hardware form to a greater extent.

As you know by now, Google is more than just a search engine-based company. It is an entity that has been experimenting in advanced hardware from the get-go, with the onset of Google Glass and self-driving cars among other innovations. The company has some of the top minds in robotics and futurism, including notable futurist Ray Kurzweil, who believes that technology will one day extend life in humans, even introducing immortality.

But while Kurzweil is focused on the future, lead Google engineer Andy Rubin is focused on the here and now in introducing advanced robots to the general populace.

One aspiring endeavor for Google is to have mobile robots load packages onto trucks and handle outgoing packages – jobs normally reserved for human beings. The projected consumer base for this type of model would be shipping giants like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). It is because of automation that humans have been reduced to more menial tasks, but cheaper-based robotics could even fill those jobs one day.

Needless to say, automation and robotics is not an entirely popular notion at a time when many nations around the world are undergoing economic decline. But there is a gold mine for investment.

Age of Robotics

Google is already buying out the competition – absorbing seven startup companies so far and merging them into one department. Google is a prime investor in the space, but smaller companies have the most innovative drive to make a splash in the robotics field.

There is a risk in entering the field, since the software is not fully developed, and getting robots to act on their own volition is also a challenge. Also, robotics companies tend to come and go as the industry undergoes hit and miss succession.

But Google is one bedrock that could maintain investment. And there is demand coming from this field.

All we need to do is refer to Japan when getting a bird’s eye view of advanced AI in society. More Japanese employers see robots as useful tools that do not get tired, hungry, or go on strike. Automation will also be a way for employers contending with layoffs or qualified worker shortages.

And it could very well lead to a day where employers no longer have to ship jobs overseas, but can keep robots at home on a domestic level. This will have wider implications on the international workforce, but it is a trend that’s coming if Google has anything to say about it.


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