MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.,--Futurist and Singularity evangelist has announced he will be joining Google Inc. as a Director of Engineering starting today, Monday, December 17th.
Kurzweil said that at Google he will be focusing on both machine learning and the company's language processing efforts.
“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,” he wrote on his website.
Kurzweil also expressed his excitement at now being able to tackle some of the world’s most difficult computer science problems “so we can turn the next decade's ‘unrealistic' visions into reality."
Indeed, it was Kurzweil’s innovative work on voice recognition and optical character recognition that has laid much of the groundwork for new features just beginning to make their way into the mainstream with applications like Apple’s Siri.
“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," said Kurzweil, noting that Google had already showcased self-driving cars and allowed for voice search on Android phones.
Google has been investing heavily in machine learning and language processing over the past few years, which the company uses for data mining and information parsing to boost its ad based revenues.
The firm has also had a long standing relationship with Kurzweil, with Google being a major donor to the futurist’s Singularity University in California.
Whether Kurzweil will get a chance to develop any consumer facing futuristic products is still unclear, though it’s thought the new executive will be spending some time in Google’s secret X Lab.
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