How Google and Foxconn conspire to create an army of robots

How Google and Foxconn conspire to create an army of robots

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Flashed in the Wall Street Journal blog brief news that Andy Rubin from Google discussed with Foxconn chairman Terry Gou prospects for possible cooperation in the field of robotics, dedicated tech spawned on the present information resources of the Internet tidal wave: a search engine gives tens of thousands of links. Why? We are talking only about the conversation the two leaders; conversation devoted to what yet … What’s the matter? Let’s try to understand, considering that both business and foreign IT commentators act rationally …

To begin with, let’s see, and who, strictly speaking, there is a “high contracting parties”? Let’s start with the least of them: there is such a “principle of the barrel”, in fact it can be poured only to the level up to which the shortest plank … So, smaller here – Foxconn, in other words, the Taiwanese company Hon Hai Precision Industry, the largest producer of electronics in the world and the tenth planet of the main employers in factories which operates 1,290,000 people.

In a list of 500 Global Fortune Hon Hai Precision Industry occupies a prestigious location. In 2008, a Taiwanese corporation was 132nd . Well, five years later, in the ranking of 2013th, the latest available, the owner of the brand Foxconn soared to 30th place (in 2012, he was 43rd), with revenue of $ 132 billion (popular in our area “Gazprom “though ahead of Taiwanese, but in the same year in the same ranking slipped from 15th place to 21st). Well, if you look, for which well-known brands Hon Hai Precision Industry supplies “ironĀ» (Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Dell …) it becomes clear that the younger partner is akin to “younger brother” of Russian fairy tales …

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Well, Google seems to be superfluous. Communication with the services and products of the company is inevitable for almost all whose activities even slightly beyond the scope of trade carrot for incidental “farm market”, however, there is a Dutch carrot and wholesaler has a fine looking product offerings through a search engine, often through close smartphone or small tablet, both under Android … Well, what a week ago Google Inc. overtaken by market capitalization of global oil supergiant ExxonMobil, only adds “modest charm” of this company …

However, employees at Google is not much – forty-four thousand, thirty times less than that of Hon Hai Precision Industry … His fantastically successful – and the market, and technological points of view – the results he achieves by intensive use of “smart” machines. Initially, these machines work with the information. But last year, Google acquired a constellation of robotic companies (” Stopohody future, or why Google bought Boston Dynamics “). Developing the whole range of “smart” machines – from robotic cameras Bot & Dolly , which give unprecedented special effects in movies, to androids Schaft.

That is the global number one search engine – how many passes through the search traffic, sixty percent? .. – Now got access to the most advanced robotic technology. So, probably, it makes sense to say that those who can expertly handle information in the near future and will gain the ability to work equally well with objects of the material world – for which, strictly speaking, are robots. Well, the ability to monetize this should be treated in what brings pelf …

That’s it, the ability to monetize features of successful innovative entrepreneur at best naive schemer, and even petty swindler … Ability affair answer the question – and the money where? (That’s why the most that neither is fantasy, when for her says technical director of the corporation number two planets is a genuine interest and a story about a poor inventor – the memory of those described in the classic creators Perpetuum mobile, which is only separated from the success of the lack of money for a “real stuff” …)

His ability to work with a search on Google using successfully implementing advertising budgets. But with the material world, and the need for which robots, this will not work. Here it is necessary production … And that’s about it-then production of jobs, which can come robots, Hon Hai Precision Industry, and can answer the classic “They have me!”. Recall: the factories Corporation employs 1,290,000 people! And the problems associated with the rising cost of labor in China, Foxconn feels long – already five years ago, opening factories in Vietnam and India, where wages are lower …

And the fact that such a territorial transfer only postpones the problem for a while, but does not solve them, the wise Chinese leaders realized long ago. And in the summer of 2011 Xinhua News Agency announced plans to introduce Foxconn at their plants within three years a million robots (before they were employed only ten thousand “iron men”, so that growth was promised a hundredfold, two orders of magnitude). To implement these plans went into the development and production line own robots Foxbot, which is engaged in office Automation Robotics (AR) Division in Shenzhen.

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Exact figures of production and implementation Foxbot not know, it seems, even the International Federation of Robotics, which excludes them from their statistics. (China island hides robots in its factories no less carefully than China continental hiding in underground tunnels carriers and nuclear warheads Second Artillery PLA. Quite possible that the real amounts of both will be unpleasant surprise for economic and geopolitical competition for China …) But the main demand “e-forge” of the planet is clearly outstripping supply. And Google decided to use it …

And this decision was very important human factor. Those who have minimally interested in robotics, must follow very closely the figure head of this trend in Google’s Andy Rubin (Andy Rubin). The world of information technology know him primarily as the father of Android. And that started it after-University robotics engineer Carl Zeiss, high-tech company of the industrial era (Contax and captured three quarters of a century after he came from the hands of masters, perceived technological masterpiece), paying much less attention.

And to his first trade, in robotics, Rubin returned to highly efficiently. telling The New York Times plans to Google, he says about the future prospects, about a decade development program. Poetically comparing plans and corporations with their flight to the moon … but notice that unlike widely publicized by President Kennedy and his successors program Apollo, Google’s purchase last year’s robotic been made quite silently, and on the exact terms of transactions is not anything even nosed transatlantic press …

So that business people in the West know how to keep a secret is not worse than the sages of the East (remember who and whose conversation transcribed before Midway and how it affected the fate of the planet). Well, in the case of negotiations between Andy Rubin and head Terry Gou Foxconn (Terry Gou) details are not available. More or less reliably reported only that industrial robots from Google will go “on probation” in factories Hon Hai Precision Industry. Probably, it will be so. But – is not the only way!

Much more important that the alliance is scheduled main electronics manufacturer on the planet with the main operator and developer of operating resources the most common operating system. About this alliance we can talk in terms of synergy, and in terms of autocatalytic reaction, and in terms of positive feedback. But the general gist (we emphasize total: details, no one would say) is that those guys that better than anyone on the planet is treated search information, together with those who are best manufactures consumer electronics.

Electronics – the same nervous system “intelligent machines.” Information – remember funny cat mordashek detector – this is what is necessary for the “brain” of robots. And all this is going “in one bottle.” Robots in electronic factories will produce “nerves” for robotic machines, “smart” homes and factory robots same – which can produce more electronics. This is the essence of an event is seen.