New Phone, Who Dis? Google Rebrands Research Division as 'Google AI' Mere Days Before Conference

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 - 12:05PM
Technology
Artificial Intelligence
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 - 12:05PM
New Phone, Who Dis? Google Rebrands Research Division as 'Google AI' Mere Days Before Conference
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Google is going deep in artificial intelligence. The company has completely done away with their research division, filing it under the newly-minted "Google AI" just days ahead of their annual I/O conference.

The company has always implemented machine learning to make their flagship search engine the household name it is today – but between developing AutoML (a neural net that designs neural nets better than humans can) and acquiring DeepMind (an AI company so cutting-edge it made Elon Musk nervous) – the name change seems to reflect how much artificial intelligence has permeated Google. According to an official statement:  

Opening quote
"For the past several years, we've pursued research that reflects our commitment to make AI available for everyone. From computer vision to healthcare research to AutoML, we have increasingly put emphasis on implementing machine learning techniques in nearly everything we do at Google. Our research has been core to the development and integration of these systems into Google products and platforms. To better reflect this commitment, we're unifying our efforts under "Google AI," which encompasses all the state-of-the-art research happening across Google."
Closing quote


Google has been applying AI to problems like image recognition (recognizing which photos are pictures of you and not, say, stop signs), image enhancement (filling in missing or low-quality portions of a photo), language recognition and translation (instantaneous translation is on the horizon), and – of course – recommendations on YouTube (you like videos of cats? This one plays the piano). All of this is based on deep learning, a technique pioneered for AI that draws inspiration from the human brain by creating artificial neural networks and running data through them. Based on feedback from humans, the network can change itself and adapt to become more efficient at a given task.

This is one reason why Google's co-founder Sergey Brin says the advances in AI signal that we're entering a new technological age: "The new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime. Every month, there are stunning new applications and transformative new techniques."

We wonder what he would say to Elon Musk, who famously compared the rise of AI to invoking a demon and thinking the ring of salt around our summoning circle will keep us safe.

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