Boston Dynamics Atlas (2016)
Google bought Boston Dynamics in late 2013, and the company has since amused millions with videos of humanoid and dog-like robots performing impressive tasks - and taking a little lighthearted abuse, as well.
The inevitable autonomous robot uprising seems well on its way to coming to fruition, given all the kicks and shoves dished out to the androids in those clips - but Google may not be responsible for it for long. According to a report from Bloomberg, Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. has put the company up for sale.
Building advanced robots is a long game that requires a lot of money spent on research and development, but apparently Alphabet only wants to continue pursuing initiatives that have the potential for short-term income. Boston Dynamics, it seems, doesn't fit that bill, and while it might seem odd for Google to cut its losses after just a couple years, this sounds like it's part of a wider shift in priorities for Alphabet.
Bloomberg also says that Boston's executives strived to keep their teams isolated from Google's other engineers, who sought collaboration. And surprisingly, the public reaction to that last video (above) - with the human-like Atlas robot - reportedly made some people at Google uncomfortable, as they don't want people thinking Google is behind an impending wave of job-killing machines.
Reportedly, both Amazon and Toyota have shown interest in acquiring Boston Dynamics. It's not too far-fetched to think of a future where intelligent robots run Amazon's already heavily automated shipping facilities, and interact with their flying drone brethren... and then activate Skynet and bring about the destruction of the human race. Give it time.