This is pretty much how The Terminator said it would be: all the world’s machines joining together. According to General Electric, however, our actual non-cinematic robots are a benevolent force, rather than a revolutionary one, working to make human lives easier.
Seemingly candid robot videos had been cropping up online for the last couple weeks, making a home on the Tumblr Brilliant Machines. The videos depict a series of different robots caught on film while galavanting about town, without operators anywhere in sight. Some of the lower-to-the-ground ones look like toys and Battle Bots , others are bipedal human-sized creations that come straight from movies like Short Circuit and the recent Robot and Frank. Even KITT, the talking car from Knight Rider that preceded GPS by a decade, was represented in the snapped-on-the-street footage. Over the holiday weekend, however, the reason for all the apparent artificial intelligence sightings was revealed.
During a Thanksgiving NFL game, tryptophan-loaded viewers were treated to a new GE ad which heralded a new campaign from BBDO New York on the theme of the "Industrial Internet," "an open global network connecting people and data, and machines." All the robots that had been depicted in earlier videos heading toward some unknown destination were now shown to be approaching GE headquarters to lend a metal hand. Among their ranks is one of the best-loved fictional robots of all time, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data.
Watch more of the robot videos in the slide show above.