Beginning December 17, 2012, Google’s new Director of Engineering is Ray Kurzweil, a renowned futurist whose affinity for Google has been known for years – since Google funded Kurzweil’s Singularity University. At Google, Kurzweil will be working on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.
The announcement comes one month after Kurzweil’s release of How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, a book that explores the mysteries of the human brain, and how this knowledge can be used to create intelligent machines. He goes far enough to predict the rise of the machines (cyber-humans) by the end of the 2020s. The Terminator may not be a work of fiction, after all.
Ray Kurzweil is best known for other two bestselling volumes, The Singularity Is Near and The Age of Spiritual Machines. He is also known for important contributions in fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, and speech recognition. And he believes that the future belongs to nanotechnology and robotics. Now Google will be a part of that future.
In a blog post on his site, Google’s new Director of Engineering describes his new position with enthusiasm:
“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 artificial intelligence dreams, may not be that far after all.