Google’s AI shifts from the next platform to its next products


Last October, when Google Home was announced, Google CEO Sundar Pichai christened AI as the next platform. Yesterday, AI became a Google product that could become as transformative and as large and potentially pervasive as Google Search.

Google’s grand bargain with its users will not change: indispensable free apps in return for users’ data. Easier to use conversational interfaces such as Google Home and Google Assistant built with AI could be the next free indispensable Google app purchased with the users’ information as the currency. It is a virtuous cycle. User interaction with indispensable apps like Google Search, Translate and Assistant that use AI, creates more data to create new indispensable AI systems. Pichai confirmed this during the Google I/O keynote when he said:

“The most important product where we are using this [AI] is in Google Search and Google Assistant. We are evolving Google Search to be more assistive for our users.”

The company has invested in AI and machine learning for over a decade to perform tasks such as filter spam from email. Machine learning programs AI systems with data instead of lines of source code. Generally, the more data the more accurately the systems operate.

+ Also on Network World: Google’s new TPUs are here to accelerate AI training +

There are two parts to AI systems built with machine learning. A good example is machine translation of English to Japanese. The first part is programming the model by training a neural network with examples of millions of English sentences and Japanese sentences. After the model has been trained to a high level of accuracy, the second part is deploying the trained model to execute the task of translating a text or spoken English sentence into Japanese, called inference.

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