Wired published this piece on artificial intelligence by Kevin Kelly back in October and I finally got around to...

Wired published this piece on artificial intelligence by Kevin Kelly back in October and I finally got around to…

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Wired published this piece on artificial intelligence by Kevin Kelly back in October and I finally got around to reading it today. It’s quite good. There are two parts I would like to highlight for you. 

The first is what Kevin sees as the three critical factors that have led to the latest explosion of interest and real progress on the AI front in recent years: 

1) Inexpensive parallel processing for neural nets (thank you GPUs)

2) Big Data 

3) Better (deeper) algorithms (thank you Deep Learning)

The second thing to call out are Kevin’s insights into what Google really is: an AI company. His early conversation with Larry Page is quite illuminating: 

Around 2002 I attended a small party for Google—before its IPO, when it only focused on search. I struck up a conversation with Larry Page, Google’s brilliant cofounder, who became the company’s CEO in 2011. “Larry, I still don’t get it. There are so many search companies. Web search, for free? Where does that get you?” My unimaginative blindness is solid evidence that predicting is hard, especially about the future, but in my defense this was before Google had ramped up its ad-auction scheme to generate real income, long before YouTube or any other major acquisitions. I was not the only avid user of its search site who thought it would not last long. But Page’s reply has always stuck with me: “Oh, we’re really making an AI.”

I’ve thought a lot about that conversation over the past few years as Google has bought 14 AI and robotics companies. At first glance, you might think that Google is beefing up its AI portfolio to improve its search capabilities, since search contributes 80 percent of its revenue. But I think that’s backward. Rather than use AI to make its search better, Google is using search to make its AI better. Every time you type a query, click on a search-generated link, or create a link on the web, you are training the Google AI. When you type “Easter Bunny” into the image search bar and then click on the most Easter Bunny-looking image, you are teaching the AI what an Easter bunny looks like. Each of the 12.1 billion queries that Google’s 1.2 billion searchers conduct each day tutor the deep-learning AI over and over again. With another 10 years of steady improvements to its AI algorithms, plus a thousand-fold more data and 100 times more computing resources, Google will have an unrivaled AI. My prediction: By 2024, Google’s main product will not be search but AI.

And if that’s not enough for you, and you still want to dig deeper, here’s a piece I did back in September that I consider one of my better pieces; it’s on Google’s work with the Knowledge Graph, and it largely echoes what Kevin is saying, but just with a more specific look at how Google is automating the extraction of knowledge from the human race: 

When Machines Know: The Evolution of Knowledge and Artificial Intelligence


#ai   #knowledgegraph   #knowledgevault  


No comments

  1. 💑👍✌👪🎓👼

  2. Reminds me of all the conversations I”m having today trying to convince people that G+ is not a social network.. but Google’s way of building your cyber identity…

  3. Point taken. My thoughts exactly! 

  4. So. Freaking. Smart.

  5. Yifat Cohen​ those would be synonyms but yeah.

  6. Certainly agree about Google and the AI stuff. 😀  Why do you think they’re trying so desperately to understand people?  AI is the inevitable end result of semantic search.

  7. A type of AI, yes, Iblis Bane​. One that organizes human knowledge.

  8. To begin with Sakari Maaranen, to begin with. 😉

  9. To me, more than just AI as in learning, I think knowledge extraction and aggregation (from Web resources, from human activities), and its use to enhance/empower AI techniques has been a game changer. Just a human brain uses reasoning combined with knowledge and past experiences.

  10. Everything AI is human.

  11. Iblis Bane perhaps this background on semantic search may be of interest: http://amitsheth.blogspot.sg/2014/09/15-years-of-semantic-search-and.html

  12. Thank you Amit Sheth, some interesting background there.  I think that the organisation (and understanding) of human knowledge is one of the  foundations of original thought.  And I have no doubt that Google (the search engine) will eventually develop into an AI.

  13. Very interesting, thanks for the read Gideon Rosenblatt 

  14. Yifat Cohen yes, but Facebook is also trying to build our cyber identity, so it’s really the same, only different in execution.

  15. On the identity front, if I were to risk oversimplifying, Matthew Kaboomis Loomis​ and Yifat Cohen​, I would say that Google is much more sophisticated about connecting that identity to topics and interests, and that Facebook is much more sophisticated in connecting it to demographic and to some degree psychographic data.

  16. Sakari Maaranen​, Curtis what you mean by “everything AI is human.” Do you mean everything it has learned is from humans? Or something else? Also, what do you have of Kevin Kelly’s point at the end of the piece, about the ultimate benefit of AI being that it is alien, i.e. non-human?

  17. Gideon Rosenblatt​​ I do not agree with the point claiming that AI would be alien. It’s just human mathematics, statistics, algorithms designed by humans. It’s not about an average joe worrying about his personal business, but human algorithms operating on human produced information, thereby producing more such information. It’s collective human capacity. If you remove humans from the picture, the AI won’t need or want anything. It’s there only to serve us and to represent some of our combined efforts. All it sees or does is determined by us and used for our purposes. It’s a tool of man.

  18. Yesterday, I was just writing sobering fairly similar to what you’re saying, Sakari Maaranen​, which is why I was asking. Volition is the key here.

    That said, I think it is_possible for us to create things that emerge as something new, something that might _feel non-human.

  19. Gideon Rosenblatt​ I agree that there is no theoretical obstacle, but in practice life needs an evolving ecosystem. All forms of life have evolved to be the way they are, because they have evolved together as an ecosystem. New species emerge based on other species. A fungus that lives a symbiotic life with the roots of some tree, a herbivore that feeds on plants, a carnivore that feeds on the herbivores, and so forth and so on. This takes millions or billions years of time to produce an ecosystem where some species are more intelligent than others. Their, our, intelligence is all about understanding this living world better than others. We could perhaps create some new microbes and wait a few billion years for them to evolve into something more intelligent, but we wouldn’t recognize them as our creation anymore by that time, and they would have been shaped mostly by the evolution of their own ecosystem. We would hardly be the same after a billion years more evolution either. So it’s all very theoretical, and in my thinking the practical considerations certainly weigh more. Life’s identity is all about evolution. That includes our own form as human beings.

  20. Interesting. Have to run out right now, but will be back in  five hours or so….

  21. Gideon Rosenblatt Solid way to explaining it! Good to see others acknowledge that Facebook has skin in the game and are basically doing the same thing. Let’s be honest, Google did initially attempt to compete with FB. That failed. They acknowledge that.  

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