WEF Tech roundup – Google co-founder Sergey Brin: I didn’t see AI coming


Here is a roundup of a few tech headlines from WEF –

Google co-founder Sergey Brin: I didn’t see AI coming

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and one of the most successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, says he did not foresee the artificial intelligence revolution that has transformed the tech industry.

“I didn’t pay attention to it at all, to be perfectly honest,” he said in a session at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. “Having been trained as a computer scientist in the 90s, everybody knew that AI didn’t work. People tried it, they tried neural nets and none of it worked.”

Fast-forward a few years and Google Brain, the company’s AI research project, has advanced so much that it now, as Brin put it, “touches every single one of our main projects, ranging from search to photos to ads … everything we do.

“The revolution in deep nets has been very profound, it definitely surprised me, even though I was sitting right there.”

Honda's latest version of the Asimo humanoid robot runs during a presentation in Zaventem near Brussels July 16, 2014. Honda introduced in Belgium an improved version of its Asimo humanoid robot that it says has enhanced intelligence and hand dexterity, and is able to run at a speed of some 9 kilometres per hour (5.6 miles per hour).  REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS SOCIETY) - RTR3YVQI

Where will AI take us?

Now that AI is here to stay, its future and potential uses have become even more difficult to predict.

“What can these things do? We don’t really know the limits,” said Brin. “It has incredible possibilities. I think it’s impossible to forecast accurately.”

In Davos for the first time in eight years, Brin also said that he’s shocked by the level of ambition surrounding the possibilities of where machine learning could take us. “I feel like the Luddite in the room,” he said.

AI is the natural continuation of the industrialization of the past 200 years, Brin added, but what does this mean for education, skills and employment?

(Read the rest on World Economic Forum blog)


Other Headlines from WEF

  • With leaps and bounds in technology, will AI ever be able to understand emotion? How would you feel about getting therapy from a robot? Emotionally intelligent machines may not be as far away as it seems. Over the last few decades, artificial intelligence (AI) have got increasingly good at reading emotional reactions in humans.
  • Worried about AI taking your job? It’s already happening in Japan – The AI will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts, according to a company press release, factoring injuries, patient medical histories, and procedures administered. Automation of these research and data gathering tasks will help the remaining human workers process the final payout faster, the release says.
  • Great, but I don’t want one: the challenge of electric cars – Three Stumbling Blocks
    • The first is the price of the car itself. With cost-benefit analyses, that price is still high — for instance, the Tesla Model 3 will have a starting price of $35,000 — and gas prices are still relatively low, providing less financial incentive to go electric, says Rahul Kapoor, a professor of management at Wharton.
    • The second is consumer “range anxiety,” which is the phrase used to capture concerns that drivers would be left stranded by the side of the road because the electrical charge on their car would not be strong enough to get them where they were headed. The Tesla Model 3 will have a range of about 215 miles, much more than models like the 2017 Nissan Leaf, which offers 107 miles of range.
    • The third challenge, according to Kapoor, is the charging infrastructure, which has not emerged as quickly as expected. In an article that Kapoor wrote with Ron Adner for the November edition of Harvard Business Review, “Right Tech, Wrong Time,” they note that it isn’t just the power or price of a technology that determines whether a product catches on. It’s also the “ecosystem.” For instance, while HDTV technology was developed in the 1980s, it took about 30 years to create the infrastructure to support that technology going into homes nationwide, they say.

Read rest of the emerging technology articles at WEF

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