Google's ultimate goal: The Star Trek computer

The tech giant's goal in life extends far beyond a popular search engine or renewable energy; we're talking social computers.

The tech giant's goal in life extends far beyond a popular search engine or renewable energy; Google wants to build the world's first "Star Trek" computer.

Speaking to Slate, a number of Google employees have mentioned the concept of Star Trek-like technology in their interviews. Think something along the lines of "Computer! Where should I have dinner?" Such a system would be able to answer questions based on extensive knowledge about you personally.

Understandably, Google's visions of future search could be considered a clever marketing ploy. However, the head of Google's search rankings team Amit Singhal has spoken further about the tech giant's plans, and how we can see the effects already.

"The destiny of [Google's search engine] is to become that Star Trek computer, and that's what we are building," Singhal commented. "It is the ideal that we're aiming to build -- the ideal version done realistically."

The Star Trek computer concept is based on design principles. Rather than having to pull out a keyboard to ask a question, speech recognition and artificial intelligence is required. Instead of just being given links to an answer in searches, this type of futuristic system would be able to understand language, and even answer questions before you ask them.

Although these advances would take years, some of the concepts have already been integrated within Google services. For example, direct answers now appear at the top of searches, and Google's Knowledge Graph is able to analyze enough information to "know" about a person or event you search for. The experimental "field trial" the tech firm offers allows you to ask questions about messages in your inbox, and Google Now offers information that you may need in your daily life -- such as current traffic conditions or flight delays.

However, problems remain. Diversity of language and questions remain far beyond Google's reach.
In order for Google to succeed, its computer system will have to be able to understand questions it has never seen before -- something that Singhai believes will happen one day, commenting that in five years' time, "You'll look back at today's search engine and you’ll say, 'Is that really how we searched?'"

(via Slate)

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