Robots by the Bay

From the “I’d watch that movie” dept.

Vincent Vanhoucke


Mecha Sutro battling Mecha Salesforce — Drawing by the author.


“It was a Big One, Madam Mayor. Damage reports are trickling in.”

“Anything big?”

“Fallen trees, broken glass mostly.”

“Good, keep me — ”


“Except what?”

“The Millenium Tower, Ma’am. It’s tilting.”

“Hardly news.”

“Tower-of-Pisa kind of tilting.”

“Hell. There may be hundreds in there. How much time do we have?”

“Minutes, Ma’am. Not hours.”

“Then we have no choice.”


“Activate Salesforce.”

“Ma’am, are you sure?”

“Do it.”

“Activating Giant Mecha Salesforce Tower. You know there is no walking back from this…”

“I am well aware, yes. Have it shore up the Millenium. We need to buy time. Evacuate the Transit Center.”

Shrug. “Already empty, obviously. Maybe can lean the Millenium on it and minimize damage.”

“Good. Do it. Hell, it could have been much worse.”

“Huh, there’s still a problem…”

“What now?”

“It’s Giant Mecha Salesforce Tower. We … appear to have lost control.”

“What? What is it doing?”

“Listen for yourself, I’ll open a channel:”


“Bloody Hell!? Where is it headed?”

“Up Market. Toward the Castro.”

“You’re telling me you have a giant robot on the loose headed to the heart of the City?”

“Technically, it’s your giant robot Ma’am. Marc — ”

“Shut up. What are our options?”

“We could activate the Walkers. They’re on standby across the Bay.”

“George Lucas won’t take my call. What else?”

“Come on. Give me something, anything!”



Vincent Vanhoucke

I am a Distinguished Scientist at Google, working on Machine Learning and Robotics.