Skynet is postponed, Google sells its robotics division to Japanese group SoftBank – VIDEO
Japanese group SoftBank will buy the robotics division of Alphabet, the holding that owns Google, with the division adding artificial intelligence to its portfolio.
The Japanese company will thus take over Boston Dynamics and Schaft, a company with its headquarters in Tokyo, which designs and manufactures robots that move in a similar fashion to people. The two parties are yet to announce the value of the transactions.
SoftBank shares increased by 7,9% following the announcement, reaching a maximum in the past 17 years.
SoftBank is lead by its founder, Masayoshi Son, who has been very active regarding acquisitions in the past years. Last year, SoftBank took over ARM Holdings, which designs most of the processors present on tablets and phones, for $32 billion.
Early this year, Masayoshi Son promised to invest $50 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the USA.
At the same time, SoftBank invested $1 billion in OneWeb, a satellite company from the USA and bought Nvidia shares of $4 billion.
SoftBank has also created a technology fund of $93 billion alongside sovereign funds in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
The acquisition of Boston Dynamics was orchestrated in 2013 by Andy Rubin, founder of Android. The company was included in an initiative called ”Replicant”, and Rubin brought around 300 engineers within the project. Later on, though, the initiative suffered due to changes in the board, with Andy Rubin leaving Google in October 2014.
Bloomberg wrote last year that engineers from Boston Dynamics did not want to collaborate with those in California and Tokyo, from the other robotics companies owned by Google.
An argument between various companies and officials within the Replicant group of Alphabet ended up on Internet forums in November 2015. Later on, Google decided to include Replicant in Google X, its advanced research division. Boston Dynamics was not included in this, though.
Boston Dynamics made several videos that became viral online, presenting the capabilities of its robots.
Still, besides the enthusiasm from the technology media, there are also negative trends. Negative perceptions include the fear that robots might replace people at various jobs.
Many films centre on robots or machine domination over mankind in the near future, such as the Matrix or Terminator series.