We live in a day and age when everything else is smart except perhaps the person sitting next to you. But kidding aside, smart technology probably defines the era we now live in. Can you imagine living without all the modern conveniences you have today? Over the years, technology gradually improved to the point that is has become smart itself. While it offers a lot of benefits, it also has its drawbacks.
Perhaps the next big thing to hit the virtual world after the smart technology is the rise of artificial intelligence. We see it now with technologies like Amazon’s Alexa and Echo. They may not be able to think for themselves yet but they give us an idea of what to expect in the future. It’s probably something like that but 10, 20, 30 to 100 times better than the existing AI technology we currently have.
At last year’s Google I/O keynote, CEO Sundar Pichai laid out the company’s vision for a new era of AI-first computing. AI mattered at least as much at this year’s keynote on Wednesday. But instead of being a vision, it was more of a fact of life. That’s because it was everywhere–in Android, Google Photos, the Google Home speaker, the Google Assistant (which will add a machine-vision feature called Google Lens), and more.
Google is all abuzz with AI talks that used to be just words said on thin air. But now, it’s not only tangible but a reality we will all be living in sooner rather than later. The company is more devoted now than ever to developing AI technologies to help them realize their goals of becoming an AI-first company.
At I/O, Google announced Google.ai–which is maybe less of an actual thing than a statement (and accompanying website) designed to remind the world of the company’s ambitious and far-flung efforts in AI. Giannandrea calls it “an umbrella brand” that shows off Google’s work in hopes of inspiring others to build upon it. “We’re saying, ‘Come use this amazing stuff, see what you can do,” he explains.
It’s not just about Google’s own apps, services, and gadgets. The AI techniques created by Giannandrea’s team may make their way into Google products such as Lens; be turned into on-demand Google Cloud offerings that can power other companies’ software and services; be leveraged in research efforts such as the company’s work to identify breast-cancer tumors; and be open-sourced so that anyone can use and tweak them for purposes beyond Google’s own ambitions.
“We see our job as evangelizing this new shift in computing,” Giannandrea says.
It may seem that there is so much going in with Google right now and it’s quite natural to come to the conclusion that the company got it all figured out but the truth is they don’t. There are certain obstacles they haven’t fully overcome yet but it does not mean that they will give up just like that.
CEO Sundar Pichai and other top executives brought Google’s audacious ambition into sharper focus Wednesday at an annual conference attended by more than 7,000 developers who design apps to work with its wide array of digital services.
Among other things, Google unveiled new ways for its massive network of computers to identify images, as well as recommend, share, and organize photos. It also is launching an attempt to make its voice-controlled digital assistant more proactive and visual while expanding its audience to Apple’s iPhone, where it will try to outwit an older peer, Siri.
The push marks another step toward infusing nearly all of Google’s products with some semblance of artificial intelligence—the concept of writing software that enables computers to gradually learn to think more like humans.
Google punctuated the theme near the end of the conference’s keynote address by projecting the phrase, “Computing that works like we do.”
While Amazon may have initiated the early years of AI’s foray with the public, Google wants to enjoy their share of the pie too. The company released Google Assistant and Google Lens to compete with the technologies currently offered by Amazon among others. And to think that Google is one of the most powerful tech companies in the world today, we are sure they’d be able to make use of their vast resources to excel in this field. They may have their fair share of hits and misses over the years but the fact that they did not immediately dived into this foray early on just goes to show they put more thought and effort into this endeavor to make sure it’s a success right from the start.