The most exciting technological leap in the last couple decades was the invention of the smartphone, which has created a terrifying new generation of teenaged mutant freaks with extra-powerful thumbs. But don’t worry, everyone: the boys in the back room at Google have a top-secret laboratory, and according to the New York Times, they’re working hard to make the fantasies of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke into a reality.
The lab is called Google X, and it sounds roughly one million times cooler than Google Classic, much like how Mega Man X was a million times cooler than old-school Mega Man. The Times claims that the lab is devoted to 100 “shot-for-the-stars” ideas. Some of these ideas are just elaborate tweaks on wireless technology: A fridge that connects to the internet and orders more food for you when you’re running low, a dinner plate that tells Facebook what you’re eating, etc. But a few of these ideas come straight out of science-fiction. There’s an elevator to outer space, just like in 3001: The Final Odyssey. There are driverless cars, just like in Minority Report. There’s a robot that can go to work for you, while you control it from the comfort of your own home. Actually, there are apparently just a whole ton of robots.
In theory, Google X could just be an affectation — a place for Google to store some of its excess billions. But the Times speaks to one member of the X club who claims that one X product will be released “before the end of the year.” Google X isn’t all space elevators and laziness robots. They’re apparently also working on the further development “the Web of Things,” which would basically connect everything you own to the Internet: Garden planters, coffee pots, light bulbs. Like almost every great consumer tech innovation of the last generation, that sounds a little bit too Philip K. Dick-esque for my tastes. Far more enjoyable, I think, to imagine what some of those other “shoot-for-the-stars” ideas might be. Avatars? Suspended animation? The freaking hoverboard?
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