Andy Rubin left Android to make… androids



No, you didn’t read that title wrong. Andy Rubin left the Android team to make androids, but it’s not the type of Android we talk about here every day. Instead, the Godfather of Android has taken up a new ambitious project within the Google X labs researching actual robotics. The New York Times has the full account of Rubin’s whereabouts, where they detailed a half-year span of acquisitions for this very project.

The plan is to advance robotics to a stage where industrial handy work won’t have to be carried out by mere mortals. There are bound to be more than a few people opposing such a future, what with jobs already scarce due to today’s technology. Some of the companies Google snapped up for the project had a hand in creating humanoid robots in the past, the type that might resemble the scary specimens Will Smith battled in I, Robot.

But just how close are we to a future where those types of robots might be able to help folks out in the workplace? We could be as long as a decade a way, as Rubin apparently suggested this project could take that many years of research before anything actually comes to fruition.

This is a project Andy Rubin has been wanting to undertake for years, but it wasn’t until recently that Google gave him a real shot to pursue his dreams. Rubin’s career actually kicked off with a robotics engineering position for optical firm Carl Zeiss.

Since then, he has had a hand in many of today’s popular technology, including Danger (the folks behind the SideKick) and the Android platform we all know and love. Almost everything he has touched has turned to gold, and we’re hoping the same rings true with this new-old love.

Even though he admitted this was a “moonshot,” Rubin hopes he and his team can achieve great things in the years to come, even if his exact vision doesn’t sprout into a practical solution. One thing’s for sure: we’ll have our pom-poms going, cheering him on in full force.

[via New York Times]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. He’s been marinating, serenading, percolating, in the lab.

    Robotics are awesome. I’m glad Andy is dippity doin’ this!

  2. The BBC posted an article about Google and Amazon automating with robots. This is what I commented on their article:
    Ah yes, that Utopian future where robots and drones will free people up of their day to day doldrums they call their jobs and let them…. be homeless and hungry. Because they lost their job. And so have others because of this “grand” rose tinted glasses view of the future. Which means places like Amazon will have fewer customers to use their services because there are fewer people earning income, disposable or otherwise. Not so smart now, is it?

    Someone then tried to say that this will create more jobs in the way of programmers and techs but the reality is that jobs lost will FAR outweigh and be of a completely different skill set than those lost.

    1. yes, because we have still not recovered from the automated assembly line making all those workers unneccesary. Or the printing presses making all the people who copied books by hand redundant. Or the automated accounting software programs making accountants lose their job. Or movies making theatre actors go broke. Or the wheel making whoever traded piggyback rides for food back in the days go hungry.

      Don;t be so overdramatic. People will just become more efficient at what they are doing by being helped by robots. When the times finally comes that robots do everything humans do today, well at that point in time humans will have a LOT of other stuff to do that robots won;t be able to do (yet).

      And saying that the new jobs require a completely different skill-set…well it is not like you never saw it coming. It will take YEARS before they will put a significant dent in the job market. If you haven’t planned accordingly and trained other skills etc you can’t really expect technology to wait on you. It is kinda like evolution, if you can’t adapt fast enough, well that is your problem, not a lot of people today are crying about mother nature killing off the less adaptive humanoids back in the day, a process that according to science, made us what we are today.

      To see how slow technology moves in business…well given the amount of companies that are still using an ancient version of internet explorer, windows XP, etc….that should give you an idea.

    2. The idea that people will be out of work because a robot took their job is a farce and a liberal imagination(like many of their imaginations). Technology is a good thing. Take a warehouse for example. There will be a day were robots will do all the heavy lifting and moving of goods, taking the forklift operators job. In that instance, it will make the goods cheaper because it will require less forklift drivers and be more efficient, in turn cheaper goods will mean more people can afford to buy them. Now, the company will need more people in the office to process the increase in demand, truck drivers to deliver, dispatchers to manage truckers. Work is not lost, only shifted to easier, less physically demanding jobs.

      Also, new technology has allowed low skilled people to keep jobs. The McDonald’s worker probably isn’t very good at math, yet he processes many orders and gives correct change 99% of the time.

      You will have people that need to work on and program the new tech. You could even build your own robot with specific skills and lease it out to company’s so you wouldn’t have to work. I’d love to see the day where robots are advanced enough where I could send my robot out to work at 5am and I could get his pay and sleep…

      Never mind all that, lets go back to the stone age so that we can spend all of our time foraging for food instead of reading Phandroid…

      1. Cheaper goods = -forklift jobs + trucker jobs + order processing jobs + dispatching jobs ???

        Something doesn’t look right about that equation.

        1. That’s because the equation you wrote is wrong. It would be cheaper goods = all of your cost – 5 forklift drivers + 4 robots(which would work around the clock with no lunch/bathroom/smoke breaks).Those shifted jobs wouldn’t necessarily be at the same company. The whole point of automation is to lower production cost which in turn lowers the price of the product. You think GM puts robots on the assembly line because it cost more? Do you think the new 2014 Chevy Silverado would cost $43,000 if it were made by hand?

          1. problem is, those jobs lost forklifting will not return the same number of jobs in the company elsewhere. And with drones about to start delivering packages, well less truck drivers needed. Software can do the job of order processing. So virtually a company can operate on a small handful of people.

            all these robots will be manufactured overseas and probably by robots, so no jobs in turn there. there will be a few robot repair jobs though, until robots can do that too lol

            I’m not concerned as I work in the world of technology, so I am not threatened when it comes to job security. However, you have to be concerned for the rest of society. What will people do when computers and robots can do nearly everything for us? Someone made the comment about evolving to adapt to a world with less jobs. I’d love to hear how everyone successfully adapt and evolve to such a world.

          2. Technology has increased throughout history as well as the population. Don’t you think they had these same questions back then? I wonder what kind of jobs existed back in the 1400’s that we don’t have today. I don’t see many black smith’s or leather tanners working in the U.S. today and I doubt they envisioned pilots or plastic surgeons back then. I’m sure the out house cleaner didn’t mind losing his job when plumbing was invented, but i’m pretty sure the guys who copied books were pissed when the printing press came about. We cannot tell what the future will bring. But I know i’d rather be living today with the technology than back then with out it.

            There will always be a job to be done. The real problem of unemployment is not robots, but humans, particularly the 545 of them in congress interfering with the free market and diverting the flow of capital from where it wants to go to where they “think” it should. The smart phone industry didn’t even exists 20 years ago, yet look how many people it employs now.

    3. You’re forgetting something: in a democracy, if the majority of people are unemployed, governments will be forced to operate a very generous welfare system (or they won’t win elections).

      Everyone will live off the robots’ salaries. People will have as much money as before, and a lot of extra spare time. The robots won’t complain – they’re robots.

  3. I, Robot not iRobot. Will Smith wasn’t fighting Roombas.

    1. Sorry about that, haha.

  4. From far away that guy looks a bit like Sheldon Cooper.

    1. Sheldon with glasses. Exactly

  5. But… will the Androids run Android?

      1. The beginning of sky net

  6. Let me guess, each and every robot they build will run on Android

    I wonder whether Android 4.4.1 will release first on the nexus phones or the nexus droids
    Also, incoming Samsung/apple/MS/chinese companies/other companies that announce that they will launch their own (i)robots (Galaxy T) soon.

  7. Just as long as Google doesn’t become Mom’s Friendly Robot Company…

  8. slow news day

    1. I don’t think so. I think this signifies a big new strategy for Google.

  9. why is everyone leaving? first JQB(I think that’s wrong) and now Andy? *sad panda*

    1. Do you mean JBQ (Jean-Babtiste Queru)? Andy Rubin left Android long before JBQ.

      1. Yeah my bad. And when did Rubin leave android?!

        1. March

  10. Rubin’s reading the writing on the wall, that’s why. Android’s feeling the heat from the outside and he’s running off of a sinking ship.

  11. I worked at a clothing factory that adopted robots to move and take the things. About 400 people lost there jobs and a few I’ve saw on the street recently begging for money. I’ve since went back to school and made something with my life but this saddens me. People need jobs! This is going to take away even more jobs. Not everyone is qualified and will get qualified. This is really sad to me. Add tons more to the soup kitchens and the streets so greedy companies can buy a one time robot to save money. Is this good for businesses? Yes but is this good for humanity? I honestly don’t believe so. Imagine small ass countries where people get paid 30 cents a day and totally struggle. This is the beginning of a huge hot mess

      1. I’ve seen this…but its a lil silly….if i want an xbox game…whos gonna make my xbox game? and why would they make it if there is no gaining from their effort in making it…then ill not have an xbox game…and i wont be happy

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