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Google Aiming For First AI Robots

February 12, 2014

Adding to it’s already impressive, multi-billion dollar portfolio, Google has recently acquired UK artificial intelligence start-up DeepMind for £400m, the artificial intelligence company aims to make computers think like humans. The firm combines “the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.”

Google’s purchase is one of its largest European acquisitions to date, DeepMind is known for developing technologies for e-commerce and games, and it has demonstrated cutting-edge technology when it comes to computer systems which are capable of playing computer games. Ultimately, it aims to develop computers that will be able to think like humans.

The newly acquired firm compliments the growing trend of purchases already made by Google, of taking the company further toward the direction of exploring and developing artificial intelligence technology. The corporation recently purchased Boston Dynamics, an engineering and robotics company that specializes in producing humanoid robotsfor the U.S. Defense Department. Along with the new additions, a new Hummingbird search update was also created which makes Google “more human,” in that searches can better understand context, using semantic indicators and hidden Markov models: similar to that of a human brain.


The Google Now app uses predictive analysis in order to predict what Android users will do next, before offering relevant help and information at each step without being asked. Google also hired futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 as its Engineering Director. Kurzweil, has optimistically claimed that in just over 30 yrs humans will be able to upload their entire minds onto a computer in order to become digitally immortal. Kurzweil also believes that biological parts of the human body will be replaced with mechanical parts as early as 2100.

In February 2009, Kurzweil, in collaboration with Google and the NASA Ames Research Center, announced the creation of the Singularity University training center for corporate executives and government officials. The University’s self-described mission is to “assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges”.

Google is excitedly hurrying forward towards a robotic future, and it looks as if we can expect to see revolutionary things from the corporation in the future, as more of our daily living tends toward digital and technological convenience. Demis Hassabis, co-founder DeepMind recently stated about the merger that the partnership “will allow us to turbo-charge our mission to harness the power of machine learning tools to tackle some of society’s toughest problems, and help make our everyday lives more productive and enjoyable.”

This is just the latest piece of evidence that Google is working towards not only creating the first software to pass the Turing test, but they seem to aim to incorporate this technology into physical robots. Whether this will turn into horror, fantasy, utopia, dystopia, or even take a totally new direction: only the future can tell. The important thing is for the public to give enough feedback in the process that the developement doesn’t take a dystopian turn (e.g robot soldiers, security forces, spies etc).

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