|Ray Kurzweil and Google announced on Friday that the inventor, futurist and author of the book , The Singularity is Near, will now head up Google's engineering in formal role. This will role will provide Kurzweil with the capital and resources to test the prescription of his latest book, How To Create A Mind, and shows that Google's founders are firmly working towards making Kurweil's predictions of the Technological Singularity a reality.|
Kurzweil's title will be Director of Engineering. In a statement on his Web site, he said he would focus on machine learning and language processing:
"I've been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, among other inventions. I've always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people's lives, which is what excites me as an inventor.
"In 1999, I said that in about a decade we would see technologies such as self-driving cars, and mobile phones that could answer your questions, and people criticized these predictions as unrealistic. Fast-forward a decade -- Google has demonstrated self-driving cars, and people are indeed asking questions of their Android phones. It's easy to shrug our collective shoulders as if these technologies have always been around, but we're really on a remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation, and Google is at the forefront of much of this development.
"I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade's 'unrealistic' visions into reality."
Google confirmed the news and said Kurzweil's long history of invention would prove useful.
"Ray's contributions to science and technology, through research in character and speech recognition and machine learning, have led to technological achievements that have had an enormous impact on society," Peter Norvig, Google's Director of Research, said in a statement.
Norvig cited the Kurzweil Reading Machine, used by Stevie Wonder and others for having words read aloud to them. "We appreciate his ambitious, long-term thinking, and we think his approach to problem-solving will be incredibly valuable to projects we're working on at Google."
Despite these statements, we believe that the pioneers of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page really have absorbed and realized the potential of what Kurzweil has outlined in his most recent book, How to Create a Mind and want him to actively implement his ideas for Google to add to the value of the company.
It is unclear if Google will fully be implementing research and development tracts for GNR (Geneteics, Robotics and Nanotechnology) projects based on Kurzweil's employment, but in terms of the inventor's track record in artificial intelligence, would be of the most immediate use to Google. Moreover, the status of Kurzweil as a popular futurist and from many indications an accurate one is sure to attract much attention.
Through their funding of the Singularity University, Brin and Page have already indicated their belief in the power and potential of exponential technologies, but now with this direct hiring of Kurweil, Google is seemingly now directly and publicly on the path to making the Singularity a reality.
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