Last month, when Ray Kurzweil announced his joining Google, speculation immediately turned toward what kind of project the famously futurism-oriented inventor working on. Now, in one of his first interviews since joining the company, Kurzweil has revealed the nature of his mission at Google.
Speaking with a reporter from the Singularity Hub, Kurzweil revealed that his basic mission is focused on helping Google to develop a sort of artificial intelligence-powered search assistant that he believes will be better than even IBM's Watson. Kurzweil said, "The project that I plan to do is focused on natural language understanding. It may have other applications, but we want to computers the ability to understand the language that they're reading... The primary goal in general is to apply this to Google core projects and products like search, and question answering, and getting to know you."
And while Kurzweil's project sounds fascinating, as he goes into more detail about how the mechanism will "[keep] track of your conversations and what emails you send and what you read," it becomes clear that what he is describing is an ecosystem in which Google will have access to every aspect of your life. This might be a troubling prospect for those who have followed Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's comments over the years regarding consumer privacy. ("If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.")
Kurzweil goes on to describe how the mechanism will work, saying, "It'll know, at a semantically deep level, what you're interested in, not just the topic... I envision some years from now, a majority of search queries will be answered without actually your asking, it'll just know that this is something that you're going to want to see."
To be clear, the "it" Kurzweil is referring to is Google. So, despite the fact that Kurzweil's vision of the future is indeed exciting in terms of technological development, now that the brilliant inventor is paired with Google and its profit-driven imperatives, it may be time to look elsewhere for an evangelist of the future and all the freedoms, private personal data and otherwise, many believe it will hold.
You can watch the entire 10-minute interview in the video below.