Remember the company from the Terminator franchise called Cyberdyne Systems? The same company that builds lethal robots and develops Skynet, the network of computers that eventually tries to destroy all of humanity? Well, there’s a real company called Cyberdyne. And they make robotic exoskeletons. Should we be worried?
The company is based in Japan and builds exoskeleton suits that are used in nursing homes and hospitals to assist people with walking. Exciting stuff! But the name of the suits? Another red flag. They’re called HAL. Yep. Like the evil robot in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Cyberdyne’s existence isn’t exactly news. The company was founded back in 2004 and went public last year. But I just can’t get over the name. It’s like the founders wanted to troll the future. And it’s not like this is some obscure little company either. Forbes just added Cyberdyne founder Yoshiyuki Sankai to their Forbes Billionaires list because, well, he’s a billionaire now. And the company hasn’t even turned a profit.
Supposedly, the name isn’t an intentional reference to the Terminator franchise. Apparently it’s just a mash-up of the term Cybernics (the new field of studying how an ageing population can be assisted by machines) and “dyne” (from the Greek term for power). But that makes me all the more concerned!
Just to be safe, we better listen to any Sarah Connors that stop us on the street with something important to say.
Image: A woman walks with the Robot Suit HAL during the Innorobo European summit in 2012 via AP