According to an article published Tuesday on Wired, Google’s featured snippets on desktop will now be rendered completely through artificial intelligence. What are being called “sentence compression algorithms” just went live today in desktop search only.
These sentence compression algorithms, with the help from deep neural networks, are capable of combing through large amounts of data and text to extract just the information you’re looking for. So when you ask a question like “what is the best Christmas movie?”, Google will give you an answer that looks like the one below:
Favorite films aside, what you can notice here is that the featured snippet cut through the entire article to render a quick list of exactly what was being searched for. If you visit the link you can see the article is much larger than just a list of 8 films.
The new sentence compression algorithm that went live today is also capable of analyzing large amounts of text and rewriting it as a short summary to answer the searcher’s question. I personally haven’t been able to find a live example of this yet, but would be grateful to see one if anyone comes across one they could share.
This type of artificial intelligence doesn’t operate completely on its own, it’s assisted by “supervised learning”. Google relies heavily on a team of 100 PhD linguists across the globe to help the algorithm understand how human language works.
The team currently spans between 20 and 30 languages and plans to eventually move to a more automated form of AI, also known as “unsupervised learning”.
Work in the area of unsupervised learning is already underway by tech giants such as Google and Facebook, but the reality of it is said to be a long ways off. Artificial intelligence still needs to be assisted by humans in some form or another.