Hanging out today talking about Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics me and Adina and Danny were thinking of what they might be used for that isn’t scary-creepy military combat or warzone bots. Here’s a few!
Disaster relief and emergency rescue. Locating people in rubble or bringing supplies into devastated areas. This is probably one of the purposes of these bots but I haven’t tried to find out.
Mapping stuff offroad. (Useful for geological surveys as well as for disaster recovery and outright spying).
“Fix My Street” style monitoring of urban environments, like reporting potholes or broken streetlights. Problem with this: Scary robots running around wearing out the roads and sidewalks.
Soil or water sampling along a shoreline to monitor pollution. I’m not sure if this makes much sense as it might be more reliable and cheaper to have sensors collecting data at fixed locations.
Junkyard bots that roam around in garbage dumps finding things that are recyclable or otherwise useful (or toxic). I thought of this watching how they can climb around on rubble.
Warehouse fulfillment and packing things for shipment. This seems quite possible!
Robot unicorns to replace taxis, Uber, and Lyft. There would obviously be a phone app to summon your robot unicorn to give you a ride anywhere around town. Google employees could summon a giant caterpillar or chinese dragon style segmented robot you could ride on, or one you could go inside like Catbus, that would whomp down the robot lane of Highway 101, in place of those white google buses.
Delivery robots. Residential buildings would have locked slots built in and businesses could have little locked cubbies for delivery bots to pick up people’s stuff. It would become trivial for a robot to just deliver you coffee from the cafe down the street. Of course this all leads to a world where robots need to find free wifi and electrical outlets for charging, which would further lead to us realizing there are little robot hangouts all over the city, the way people congregate around the deep sea vent nutrient rich environments of power outlets and hotspots in airports.
Feral robots which can feed off power on people’s solar roof thingies or from powerlines and survive in the wilds like rats and pigeons. The jumping sand flea bots would emerge at night to tap into lamp posts for power and then scuttle and leap back up to roofs like rats on the prowl.
Robots that go to holiday parties when you are too sick to go and project a Princess Leia sort of hologram of you saying hello and sending your regrets. Then they would scarily whip out a plate of cookies. Introverts might just have their presence robot host the party and you might end up with a whole den full of robot partygoers. Uh oh!
The angst from the title of this post is from (re)watching the videos of Boston Dynamics robots and narrating the robot’s probable sad-Dalek voices. BAD MASTER NOT KICK BIG DOG – BAD KICK MASTER NOT LAUGH ROBOT STUCK GOOD ROBOT…. I am too lazy to make the twitter account to do this, so please take it and run.