DeepMind and Google: The Future of AI?
In the last few decades we’ve been using machines to make our lives easier, creating programs to simplify things in a way nobody could’ve imagined. Once computers required an entire room to manage a few limited capabilities, and now they fit in the palm of your hand capable of retaining a world of information. This drastic improvement required years of development and hard work by many, many people. With the creation of programs like Siri for Apple, the next big step in everyday technology might be the exploration of artificial intelligence – programs that can think of our needs, before we have to ask for them.
DeepMind is an artificial intelligence company in the United Kingdom, founded in 2011 and purchased by Google in 2014. The founder of DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, has a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and has had a fascination in Artificial Intelligence ever since he was younger. As a startup, the company’s goal was to create AI technology that learns and improves itself. For example, the DeepMind project was challenged to play a game (previously unknown), and then autocorrect choices and improve the playability to an almost perfect game completion. The DeepMind project learned and improved based on its algorithm, without additional coding or external assistance/input.
Imagine what life would be like with technology that reviews and understands your life so thoroughly that – before you even wake up in the morning – your day is already planned and scheduled to the most efficient and appropriate degree.
It’s exciting to think about what a giant entity, like Google, might be able to do with this technology! How might it improve our every-day technology, from phones to emails to scheduling, etc? And yet, is it healthy to have technology rule that much of our personal rights, have that much sway in our personal space? Self-driving cars are on the road now in Silicon Valley. Driving is a risk, and it always has been. Driving requires the ability to quickly adjust to situations, and recognize context and value of the world and landscape around. Google has been working on the self-driving car for years, and it has yet to have any serious issue (testing is ongoing). If we can trust Google to control one of the largest every-day safety risks (for humans and property), perhaps then self-thinking, constantly learning robots aren’t too behind?
Of course at this time, rumor has it that Google is only planning to use this technology to improve their image searches… but maybe that’s just the first phase? One just doesn’t know what’s happening in the heart of Google with the DeepMind team. Although, thanks to a variety of movie story-lines regarding the pitfalls of clever robots and technology, AI can be viewed as scary or a loss of control, I am really quite interested and excited to see what benefits come in the future.