Google layoffs hit team of robots that cleaned tables and sorted rubbish

Recent tech layoffs have hit thousands of workers hard but it seems not even the robots have been spared.

Google’s parent company Alphabet is shutting down a team of robots that cleaned tables, separated trash and opened doors.

The robots were developed by Everyday Robots, one of Alphabet’s subsidiaries, which is now being shut down.

The shutdown comes as a part of budget cuts spreading across the Google parent, a spokeswoman confirmed.

‘Everyday Robots will no longer be a separate project within Alphabet,’ said Denise Gamboa, director of marketing and communications for Everyday Robots.

‘Some of the technology and part of the team will be consolidated into existing robotics efforts within Google Research.’

Everyday Robots, was a part of Alphabet’s X moonshot lab, a secret research and development facility founded by Google in 2010.

The team trained over 100, wheeled, one-armed robots to perform a range of useful tasks around their offices. They could clean cafeteria tables, separate rubbish from recycling and open doors.

Last month, Google’s parent company, Alphabet announced that it was slashing about 12,000 jobs or 6% of its workforce.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told staff in a memo that the firm had rapidly expanded for better times but now faced ‘a different economic reality’.

This comes at a time when Google is heavily investing in its AI capability following a ‘code red’ issued after being spooked by what AI chatbot ChatGPT could do.

The tech giant has since directed its research, trust and safety teams to focus on the development and launch of new AI prototypes and products to compete with Microsoft.

This month, following the launch of Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing, Google launched its own artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot called Bard.

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