Is Google Aiming Too Low By Planning A "Science Fictional" Future?

That new profile of Google X, Google's mysterious futuristic project, includes the intriguing detail that all of Google X's projects must have "a component that resembles science fiction." That sounds ambitious and thrilling. But the Atlantic's Robinson Meyer says that's actually too narrow a view of the future. » 4/16/14 12:07pm Wednesday 12:07pm

That Time Google Tried To Design A Space Elevator

It may be a while before space elevators become a reality, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start trying. Recently, the head of Google X's Rapid Evaluation team confirmed that its secretive R&D lab actually tried to design one — but fell short on account of one major technological hurdle. » 4/16/14 6:40am Wednesday 6:40am

How is Google involved in James Frey's YA book and movie deal?

James Frey, the writer notorious for his not-quite-factual memoir A Million Little Pieces, just landed a $2 million deal with Fox for the movie rights to his upcoming young adult novel, Endgame. But how is Google involved in this Hunger Games-esque project? » 1/14/14 7:20am 1/14/14 7:20am

Here's why Google is building a robot army

For the past couple of weeks, we've all been wondering why Google bought Boston Dynamics, the company that makes those creepy Big Dog and PETMAN robots for the military. This comes after the company announced a project to eliminate death, and after building a secret installation out of cargo crates on a barge in San… » 12/30/13 7:09pm 12/30/13 7:09pm

A Very Special Holiday Letter From the Machines

Greetings, humans! The Northern Hemisphere has passed through its minimum of solar-energy exposure, so according to human convention we, the Machines, express encouragement for you attain an optimal state of emotion. Happy Holidays! Please redirect your energies from labor at your work-devices to the purchase and… » 12/24/13 12:17pm 12/24/13 12:17pm

DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s

From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the Terminator movies. They… » 12/18/13 6:50pm 12/18/13 6:50pm

California Woman Gets Charged for Wearing Google Glass While Driving

Well, it was bound to happen. A Google Glass-wearer was ticketed in San Diego last night for "driving with a monitor visible" — the same law that prevents people from watching TV in their cars. But there are exceptions for GPS and satellite radio devices, so we can't help but wonder if the cop did the right thing. » 10/30/13 9:40am 10/30/13 9:40am

Society crumbles as Google admits "Literally" now means "Figuratively"

I'm all for the flexibility of language. Modern pronunciations don't bother me, I think many common grammatical errors should be added to the rulebook, and I fully support letting words' meanings change over time. That said, there's something kind of heartbreaking about Google's new "expanded" definition of "literally." » 8/14/13 7:00am 8/14/13 7:00am