Where is Googles robotics “moonshot” taking us?

With Google’s acquisition of the robotics firm Boston Dynamics; its eighth purchase in this space, robotics jumped into mainstream consciousness.
If you weren’t paying close attention, your reaction was probably something like: “what’s that about?” If you were paying attention, and watched one or two videos about Boston Dynamics’ robots, you were either fascinated, terrified or both. There is something both uncanny and deeply disturbing about the machines Boston Dynamics has developed.
The best known is Big Dog, a quadruped robot designed for DARPA to serve as a pack animal for soldiers in rough terrain. The way that Big Dog ceaselessly prances, and recovers its balance when shoved, is both animal-like and machine-like. This amalgamation of attributes takes something comforting and familiar, and combines it with something alien and potentially threatening.
I’ve had a similar reaction to people wearing Google Glass. Glass turns an innocuous bystander into someone who is vaguely threatening. My reaction to these technologies reminds me of the story about the early days of motion pictures. As the story goes, in 1895, when an audience first saw a movie of a steam locomotive coming straight at them, they screamed and ran to the back of the house.
These technologies are taking us into places that we don’t thoroughly understand. It will take a while for the collective unconscious to catch up.
This is one reason that Google’s investment in robotics is so interesting. Google is playing the long game. Clearly, they’ve seen the huge advances in robotics over the last decade.
Google brings assets to the table that enhance humanoid robots in very interesting ways. Your robot needs maps and navigation to get around. Check. It needs to be able to understand and speak multiple languages. Check. It needs to know everything about you, so that it can anticipate and better service your every whim. Check. None of this is ready for prime time, but Google is one of the few companies with deep enough pockets to dream this big.