Ray Kurzweil lifts lid on Google AI project

Google's director of engineering reveals information about the new artificial intelligence programme his team is working on to help machines develop a better understanding of human language.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Google's recently appointed director of engineering Ray Kurzweil has revealed details around an upcoming AI project for the company, focused on helping computers to better understand human language.

"The project I plan to do is focused on natural language understanding although it may have other applications," said Kurzweil in a video interview with Singularity Hub, published on Thursday. "We want to give computers the ability to understand the language that they're reading." 

Kurzweil said he envisions that Google will know at a semantically deep level what you're interested in. "It will know not just the topic…[but] the specific questions and concerns you have," he said. 

The technology, which is likely to take several years to develop, will underpin services like Google Search instead of acting as a standalone product, said Kurzweil.

"I envision some years from now that the majority of search queries will be answered without you actually asking," said Kurzweil. "It'll just know this is something that you're going to want to see."

In the interview, the AI expert said he has all the resources he needs but did not reveal exactly how many staff will be on his team. However, he did say that he expects the team to grow in the future.

Other forward-looking projects currently underway at Google include Project Glass, which aims to develop a pair of augmented reality glasses.

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