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