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    Alphabet旗下機器人公司迎來新掌舵人

    Alphabet旗下機器人公司迎來新掌舵人

    EMMA HINCHLIFFE 2021年07月28日
    Intrinsic的目標是有朝一日讓缺乏足夠資金或資源為自己的專業機器編程的企業也能用上機器人。

    溫迪?譚?懷特,機器人公司Intrinsic首席執行官。圖片來源:COURTESY OF INTRINSIC

    Alphabet神秘的X研發部門(前身為谷歌X)的大多數項目沒能走出實驗室。但有時,一些諸如自動駕駛汽車、疾病預防等天方夜譚式的想法(谷歌稱之為登月項目)會取得突破,成為這家科技巨頭的新公司。

    工業機器人項目Intrinsic是最近一個從X部畢業、成為Alphabet新獨立業務的登月項目。Alphabet在接受《財富》雜志獨家采訪時表示,隨著Intrinsic走入下一階段,成為Alphabet的"其他賭注"(Other Bets),即谷歌以外的其他重要業務,新公司也將迎來自己的首席執行官:科技行業經驗豐富的創始人、投資人和高管溫迪?譚?懷特。

    “我一直致力于實現技術的大眾化?!弊T?懷特說,“如果我們能開放工業機器人的使用,將從根本上徹底改變世界的制造和生產方式?!?/p>

    上世紀90年代末,譚?懷特與他人共同創立了Moonfruit,并擔任首席執行官,這家英國公司是第一家讓不會編程的用戶也可以創建網站的公司。之后,她也曾為其他初創公司工作,包括歐洲P2P借貸網站Zopa.com和互聯網銀行Egg.com。近年來,譚?懷特一直專注于機器人和生物技術的投資。兩年半前,她從英國搬到加州,加入X,擔任副總裁。

    目前為止,譚?懷特在Alphabet一直擔任X項目的導師——有些項目是公開的,有些保密。除了Intrinsic項目,她還幫助開發了Tidal,該項目的目的是通過機器感知工具和水下攝像機來保護海洋。

    她擔任Intrinsic的首席執行官后,將不再負責其他項目的業務。這家新公司的雄心是讓企業能夠輕松地給機器人編程(如制造類機器人),讓它們完成任務。比如說,不需要給每臺機器編程讓它們“旋轉90度”來完成安裝任務,只需指示制造機器人“旋轉螺絲,直到擰緊為止”即可。

    “完全是科幻小說里的場景,”阿斯特羅?特勒解釋說。是他把X項目經營為Alphabet的“登月船長”,也是他聘用了譚?懷特。

    Intrinsic還沒有發布產品,它專注于機器人軟件,而非硬件。該公司的誕生源于Alphabet在機器人領域的投入(也包括收購),總方向可以分為三類:“輔助、移動和制造”。Intrinsic屬于“制造”類。

    從某些方面看,Intrinsic的使命與現年50歲的譚懷特創建了近20年的公司類似。Moonfruit的目標是幫助沒有專業知識的人創建互聯網網頁,與之類似,Intrinsic的目標是有朝一日讓缺乏足夠資金或資源為自己的專業機器編程的企業也能用上機器人。這樣一來,即使沒有自己的機器人技術,公司也更容易入門,現有制造商也能更快做出調整,舉個例子,這項技術在新冠肺炎疫情初期對企業而言會非常有用。

    譚懷特將加入Waymo聯合首席執行官特科德拉?馬瓦卡拉的行列,成為掌管Alphabet旗下企業的極少數有色人種女性,Alphabet內部同級別的職位有十幾個。在英國,譚懷特于2016年被伊麗莎白女王二世授予英帝國勛章,以表彰她在科技和商業方面的貢獻,包括她對科技領域女性的支持?!拔液苤匾曔@份工作?!弊T懷特說,“我知道,Alphabet是一家在世界上十分有影響力的大公司?!保ㄘ敻恢形木W)

    譯者:Agatha

    Alphabet神秘的X研發部門(前身為谷歌X)的大多數項目沒能走出實驗室。但有時,一些諸如自動駕駛汽車、疾病預防等天方夜譚式的想法(谷歌稱之為登月項目)會取得突破,成為這家科技巨頭的新公司。

    工業機器人項目Intrinsic是最近一個從X部畢業、成為Alphabet新獨立業務的登月項目。Alphabet在接受《財富》雜志獨家采訪時表示,隨著Intrinsic走入下一階段,成為Alphabet的"其他賭注"(Other Bets),即谷歌以外的其他重要業務,新公司也將迎來自己的首席執行官:科技行業經驗豐富的創始人、投資人和高管溫迪?譚?懷特。

    “我一直致力于實現技術的大眾化?!弊T?懷特說,“如果我們能開放工業機器人的使用,將從根本上徹底改變世界的制造和生產方式?!?/p>

    上世紀90年代末,譚?懷特與他人共同創立了Moonfruit,并擔任首席執行官,這家英國公司是第一家讓不會編程的用戶也可以創建網站的公司。之后,她也曾為其他初創公司工作,包括歐洲P2P借貸網站Zopa.com和互聯網銀行Egg.com。近年來,譚?懷特一直專注于機器人和生物技術的投資。兩年半前,她從英國搬到加州,加入X,擔任副總裁。

    目前為止,譚?懷特在Alphabet一直擔任X項目的導師——有些項目是公開的,有些保密。除了Intrinsic項目,她還幫助開發了Tidal,該項目的目的是通過機器感知工具和水下攝像機來保護海洋。

    她擔任Intrinsic的首席執行官后,將不再負責其他項目的業務。這家新公司的雄心是讓企業能夠輕松地給機器人編程(如制造類機器人),讓它們完成任務。比如說,不需要給每臺機器編程讓它們“旋轉90度”來完成安裝任務,只需指示制造機器人“旋轉螺絲,直到擰緊為止”即可。

    “完全是科幻小說里的場景,”阿斯特羅?特勒解釋說。是他把X項目經營為Alphabet的“登月船長”,也是他聘用了譚?懷特。

    Intrinsic還沒有發布產品,它專注于機器人軟件,而非硬件。該公司的誕生源于Alphabet在機器人領域的投入(也包括收購),總方向可以分為三類:“輔助、移動和制造”。Intrinsic屬于“制造”類。

    從某些方面看,Intrinsic的使命與現年50歲的譚懷特創建了近20年的公司類似。Moonfruit的目標是幫助沒有專業知識的人創建互聯網網頁,與之類似,Intrinsic的目標是有朝一日讓缺乏足夠資金或資源為自己的專業機器編程的企業也能用上機器人。這樣一來,即使沒有自己的機器人技術,公司也更容易入門,現有制造商也能更快做出調整,舉個例子,這項技術在新冠肺炎疫情初期對企業而言會非常有用。

    譚懷特將加入Waymo聯合首席執行官特科德拉?馬瓦卡拉的行列,成為掌管Alphabet旗下企業的極少數有色人種女性,Alphabet內部同級別的職位有十幾個。在英國,譚懷特于2016年被伊麗莎白女王二世授予英帝國勛章,以表彰她在科技和商業方面的貢獻,包括她對科技領域女性的支持?!拔液苤匾曔@份工作?!弊T懷特說,“我知道,Alphabet是一家在世界上十分有影響力的大公司?!保ㄘ敻恢形木W)

    譯者:Agatha

    Most projects in Alphabet's secretive X research and development division—formerly known as Google X—never make it out of the lab. But occasionally, a "moonshot" idea like self-driving cars or disease prevention breaks through to become a new company within the tech giant.

    The latest moonshot to do just that is Intrinsic, an industrial robotics project that is "graduating" from X to become its own Alphabet business. As the project moves into this next stage as part of what Alphabet dubs "Other Bets" —businesses outside Google — Intrinsic is getting its own CEO: longtime tech founder, investor, and executive Wendy Tan White, Alphabet tells Fortune exclusively.

    "I've always been about democratizing technology," says Tan White. "If we can open up the accessibility of industrial robotics, we will totally, fundamentally change how the world makes and produces things."

    In the late 1990s, Tan White co-founded and served as CEO of Moonfruit, a U.K. business that was the first to offer a way to build a website without coding expertise. Since then, she has worked on other startups including the European peer-to-peer lending site Zopa.com and internet bank Egg.com. In recent years, Tan White focused on investing in robotics and biotech before she moved from the U.K. to California to join X as a vice president two-and-a-half years ago.

    During her time at the company so far, Tan White acted as a mentor to X projects—some public, and some kept secret by Alphabet. In addition to working with Intrinsic, she helped develop Tidal, an effort to protect the world's oceans via machine perception tools and underwater cameras.

    As she moves into this CEO role, Tan White will now be exclusively focused on Intrinsic. The new company's ambitious goal is to make it possible for companies to be able to easily program robots, like the kind used in manufacturing, to complete tasks. Instead of needing to program each machine to "rotate 90 degrees" to complete an installation step, for example, a company could instead instruct a manufacturing robot to "turn the screw until it's tight."

    "That's complete science fiction right now," explains Astro Teller, who hired Tan White and runs X as Alphabet's "captain of moonshots."

    Intrinsic doesn't yet have a product to announce, but it's focused on robotics software, not hardware. The company came out of Alphabet's work on robotics, including via acquisitions, which Alphabet separated into three categories: "help, move, and make." Intrinsic is what Alphabet called "make."

    The mission is in some ways similar to the business Tan White, now 50, launched in her late 20s. Similar to how Moonfruit sought to help people without specialized knowledge to build websites on the internet, Intrinsic aims to one day make robotics accessible to businesses that lack the money or resources to program their own specialized machines. Such a change would make it easier for companies without their own robotics technology to begin working in the field and for existing manufacturers to make faster pivots — something that would have been useful in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example.

    Tan White will join Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana as a rare woman of color running an Alphabet business (there are about a dozen such roles within Alphabet). In the U.K., Tan White was awarded in 2016 an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to technology and business, including supporting women in tech. "I take the responsibility seriously," says Tan White. "I know that Alphabet is a big, impactful company in the world."

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