Kurzweil Targets Speech Recognition in New Google GigKurzweil Targets Speech Recognition in New Google Gig
Famed futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil disclosed late last week that on Monday, Dec. 17, he’s going to work at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) as the search vendor’s engineering director to tackle “some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.”
December 17, 2012
KurzweilFamed futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil disclosed late last week that on Monday, Dec. 17, he’s going to work at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) as the search vendor’s engineering director to tackle “some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.”
Kurzweil, whose work spans computer and machine intelligence, virtual reality and neuroscience, said in a blog post of some length that at Google he will work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing. He wrote:
“I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17. I’ve been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, among other inventions. I’ve always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people’s lives, which is what excites me as an inventor.
In 1999, I said that in about a decade we would see technologies such as self-driving cars and mobile phones that could answer your questions, and people criticized these predictions as unrealistic. Fast forward a decade — Google has demonstrated self-driving cars, and people are indeed asking questions of their Android phones. It’s easy to shrug our collective shoulders as if these technologies have always been around, but we’re really on a remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation, and Google is at the forefront of much of this development.
Speech recognition may be one of the problems to which Kurzweil refers. According to the MIT Technology Review, Google’s interest in speech recognition is a subject that Kurzweil has written about, and to which Peter Norvig, Google’s research director known for his work in artificial intelligence, referred in a statement:
“Ray’s contributions to science and technology, through research in character and speech recognition and machine learning, have led to technological achievements that have had an enormous impact on society – such as the Kurzweil Reading Machine, used by Stevie Wonder and others to have print read aloud. We appreciate his ambitious, long-term thinking, and we think his approach to problem-solving will be incredibly valuable to projects we’re working on at Google.”
Some of Kurzweil’s predictions include his ideas that artificial intelligence soon will match that of humans and, within the next 40 years, human lifespan will be dramatically extended owing to advances in nanotechnology.
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