Technology inventor Ray Kurzweil, who recently joined Google as its director of engineering, has discussed his "ambitious" project currently in development.
Kurzweil is hoping to utilize Google's astronomical pool of data and resources to develop technology that would see intelligent computers thoroughly understanding human language. The technology would give birth to ultra-intelligent search engines that answer questions before a user asks them.
"There is no more important project than understanding intelligence and recreating it," Kurzweil said. The American inventor is responsible for both commercial speech recognition software and text-to-speech reading machines for the blind, as well as other products/services.
The project at Google is focused on developing a method for computers to understand "natural language". Kurzweil delved into how computers in this day and age are unable to determine the meanings behind words, phrases and sentences.
"It will know at a semantically deep level what you're interest in, not just the topic," he said. "It will know the specific questions and concerns you have. It will be constantly surveying all of the new knowledge that comes out every minute and bringing things to your attention that it thinks you will want."
He added that the technology will answer questions before it's asked, with the function likely be integrated into the "core technology" of devices and computers. Referring to an example, he said someone who was worried about not getting enough of a specific vitamin would see their device, although it wasn't asked directly, acknowledging that concern. Subsequently, after a few weeks it would indicate to the user that new information is available regarding that particular vitamin.
"Privacy is obviously a huge issue, but it is already to Google," he said. "It's already exposed to a lot of private information, and they do a very good job to maintain that. I can tell you from having been there one day that that is a big message." Users are expected to accept the upcoming search technology unprecedented access to their lives as it'll act "like a friend".
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have expressed their desire to see the search engine giant ultimately becoming artificial intelligence itself. To help achieve that ambitious goal, it created the highly-protected and mysterious 'X lab', managed by Brin himself. There, the firm's leading engineers develop a slew of technology such as Project Glass and driverless cars. It's also rumored to be working on a space elevator.
"One of my favourite things is artificial intelligence, but it has gotten a very bad rap, but my prediction is that when AI happens it's going to be a lot of computation and not so much clever algorithms but just a lot of computation," Larry Page said back in 2007.
"My theory is that if you look at your programming, your DNA, it's about 600 megabytes compressed, so it's smaller than any modern operating system, smaller than Linux or Windows or anything like that, your whole operating system, that includes booting up your brain. So your program algorithms probably aren't that complicated, it's probably more about the overall computation. We have some people at Google who are trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale to make search better. Very few [other] people are working on this, and I don't think it's as far off as people think."
While Google invests in the development of advanced A.I., a UK university had warned that computers could take over the world during the next two centuries.