Will Machines Become More Intelligent Than Us?

Artificial intelligence
In 2017, major tech companies will continue their race to develop real-life artificial intelligence applications. Photo : VCG - Getty Images

Experts in the emerging field of artificial intelligence (AI) warn that the moment when machines will become more intelligent than us is not far away. Tech experts call this special moment of mankind's evolution as "the Singularity."

Google's Machine Learning

Google focuses on artificial intelligence as a means to grow its cloud business. According to Fortune, the company has announced on Tuesday, Nov 15, that two newly hired high-profile AI researchers will lead its new machine learning unit part of the Google Cloud business. As a subset of artificial intelligence, machine learning refers to training computers to recognize patters among huge amount of data.

The two new Google hires are Jia Li, the head of research for Snap, the parent company of popular social messaging app Snapchat and Fei-Fei Li, the director of Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab. Analysts consider the two women as experts in the field of computer vision, an artificial intelligence's subset involving teaching computers to recognize objects in images.

An important part of Google's growing strategy focuses on the cloud. According to company's blog, in late September Google gathered all its enterprise tools into a single department, Google Cloud, headed up by Diane Greene. Under the Cloud brand umbrella is not just Docs and Drive, but also Chromebook laptops and Android phones, too.

Google's head of cloud Diane Greene, speaking at a press event Tuesday in San Francisco, explained that the new hires are part of company's effort to bridge together more effectively its research unit and its core business and to formalize the artificial intelligence group into its business.

According to Greene, enterprise software is a rather untapped market, with Amazon Web Services enterprise software and Microsoft Azure only serving five percent of it. In fact, when it comes to cloud-based storage, documents and sharable, Google Drive and Docs don't really have a competitor.

Machine Learning And The Singularity

In the process of developing advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, Google may be the first company to create machines more intelligent than humans. Ray Kurzweil, Google's head of engineering, is one of the well-known scientists who are espousing what's known as the concept of "technological Singularity."

According to Time, the technological Singularity expresses the idea that artificial intelligence will become so smart that it will take on a form that humans cannot comprehend nor foresee. To extrapolate this concept to its ultimate meaning, this might essentially bring the end of humanity as we know it.

The Singularity hypothesis suggests that machines will be able to upgrade themselves and in the end humans will have to merge with machines in order to survive the challenges. With the rapid advances in machine learning apps such as self-driving car tech, Google Now, Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, etc. the idea of a technological Singularity approaching fast is gaining popularity among tech experts.

According to Recode, thankfully, at least one top Google executive doesn't think that singularity is going to happen anytime soon. In an interview at the Code Enterprise conference Tuesday in San Francisco, Greene said that there are still lots of things machine learning cannot do, but humans can do well. She added that, while nobody really expected some of the advances we are seeing now to happen as quickly, she still doesn't expect to see the Singularity in her sentient lifetime.

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