Futurist Ray Kurzweil

Futurist Ray Kurzweil has some ambitious plans for search at Google. Kurzweil joined Google at the end of last year as director of engineering and he became famous for creating the first text-to-speech software. He’s also been called “the ultimate thinking machine.”



Now, he’s bringing his ultimate thinking machine to Google, where he’s working on a system that can truly understand natural language.

“Search has moved beyond just finding keywords, but it still doesn’t read all these billions of web pages and book pages for semantic content,” Kurzweil said in an interview with Wired’s Steven Levy. “If you write a blog post, you’ve got something to say, you’re not just creating words and synonyms. We’d like the computers to actually pick up on that semantic meaning. If that happens, and I believe that it’s feasible, people could ask more complex questions.”

So if Kurzweil succeeds in building such a system, Google search may one day be conscious and actually know who you are.

“And that doesn’t just mean logical intelligence,” Kurzweil says. “It means emotional intelligence, being funny, getting the joke, being sexy, being loving, understanding human emotion. That’s actually the most complex thing we do. That is what separates computers and humans today. I believe that gap will close by 2029.”

Via Business Insider