Google purchases AI company DeepMind for $400 million, leading many to theorize about connections to the recent spree of purchases made by the search giant. After acquiring smart appliance start up Nest and high end military contracted robotics lab Boston Dynamics, as well as a slew of others, Googles apparent end game is Artificial General Intelligence destined to affect every portion of our lives. The main difference between normal Artificial Intelligence and the newer general type is the way in which they learn tasks. While classic AI is known for speed and accuracy, literal interpretations of commands, AGI will be more of a slow and steady learner. Although it may take longer to learn a concept or task, the understanding of AGI will be much deeper once the learning phase is over, and the system will be able to implement what it has learned in much more complex ways than its simpler counterpart. The trade-off of course, is that AGI systems will be much more complex and difficult to build.
With famous futurist Ray Kurzweil at the helm of Googles engineering division, the sudden interest in making the future a more accommodating place is hardly a surprise. Responsible for several firsts in human machine communications, Kurzweil is a leading voice in discussions of the Singularity, the point at which machine intelligence will meet or exceed that of humans. Connecting with the man behind DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, former chess prodigy and video game designer, is a logical step in bringing the future to the present. Demis is responsible for machines learning via models of human synapses, the conductors of electrical impulses we know as thoughts in the brain. Now that Google has purchased the AI company DeepMind for $400 million, the combination of powerful, intuitive hardware and responsive, intelligent software is less a dream and more a matter of time.
Google the fortune it is now using to expand on advertisements. Recently they have become extremely proficient at targeting ads to specific people based on their past searches and where they spend their time online using algorithms to predict what it is they may be interested in purchasing. Browsing purses on Amazon will result in Google cranking up the advertisements for purses in a bid to get you to click on the ad and generate income for them. Specific advertising has been the bread and butter of Google for since their debut in 1997. But after Google purchases AI company DeepMind for $400 million, their intent to expand into new areas that have previously been works of fiction can’t be ignored. The question that remains now is not if Google will change our future, but how they will change it. At the moment they only receive information of our wants and needs from our computers and smart phones. In only a matter of years, they may be receiving tidbits from your refrigerator, your car, and even your microwave. Whether this will result in a more comfortable world or an unending string of commercials on every electrical device in your home, only time will tell.
By Daniel O’Brien