Meet Google's New Robotic Pets

Google's recent purchase of the defense contractor Boston Dynamics has raised eyebrows, and also brought the inevitable – if overblown – comparisons between Google and Skynet. 

Google's recent purchase of the defense contractor Boston Dynamics has raised eyebrows, and also brought the inevitable – if overblown – comparisons between Google and Skynet


Boston Dynamics is a pioneering robotics company that makes machines such as Big Dog, which is capable of carrying loads of supplies over rough terrain, as well as Cheetah (see video below), a four-legged robot that has attained the highest land speeds yet of any robot with legs (29 mph).

The Cheetah mimics the movements of the real animal and uses hydraulic pumps and a boom to get it running.

So how might these machines be used? Google could develop an amazing civil robot to aid the handicapped as well as a security bot that will win lucrative military contracts.

Watch here:

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Big Think Edge
  • Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
  • Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
  • Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

In U.S. first, drug company faces criminal charges for distributing opioids

It marks a major shift in the government's battle against the opioid crisis.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The nation's sixth-largest drug distributor is facing criminal charges related to failing to report suspicious drug orders, among other things.
  • It marks the first time a drug company has faced criminal charges for distributing opioids.
  • Since 1997, nearly 222,000 Americans have died from prescription opioids, partly thanks to unethical doctors who abuse the system.
Keep reading Show less