FUTURE PRIMATE

Ray Kurzweil Joins Google As Engineering Director Focused On Machine Learning And Language Processing Tech

Ray Kurzweil Joins Google As Engineering Director Focused On Machine Learning And Language Processing Tech

Famed inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil announced this afternoon that he has been hired by search engine giantGoogle as a director of engineering focused on machine learning and language processing. He starts this upcoming Monday, according to a report issued on his website.

It’s certainly very interesting news, but it does not come as a huge shock. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are known to be keenly interested in the theory of an upcoming “technological singularity,” a time when human beings and artificially intelligent machines will sync up to push innovation forward at an unprecedentedly fast rate. Kurzweil is one of the most prominent individuals associated with the singularity movement.

It’s unclear whether he’ll be working at Google full-time or on a consulting basis, and whether he’ll be working from the Mountain View, California headquarters or his longtime base in Massachusetts. We’ve reached out for more details and will update this with word we receive.

For now, here is the report as published on his website:

“Ray Kurzweil confirmed today that he will be joining Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.

“I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17,” said Kurzweil.

“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.

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.””

We had the chance to interview Kurzweil in Austin, Texas earlier this year during the South By Southwest Interactive conference. Here is the footage from that sit-down — it was a wide-ranging interview that touched on many topics, so we split it into two videos. In the first, he talks about entrepreneurship and startups; in the second, we get a bit into his thoughts on wellness, biotechnology, healthcare, and why “you are what you think.”

This entry was published on December 15, 2012 at 12:35 am. It’s filed under Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: