Sep 292010
Google CEO Schmidt Pitches Autonomous Search, Flirts with AI
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Google CEO Eric Schmidt said
the symbiotic relationship between humans and computers is driving the search
engine to work on autonomous search, where users receive search suggestions on
their mobile phone without having to type any queries.

Schmidt, speaking at
TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco Sept. 28, said that while the Google Instant
predictive search technology helps shave an average of 2 seconds off users’ queries, the next step is
“autonomous search.”

This means Google will conduct
searches for users without them having to manually conduct searches. As an
example, Schmidt said he could be walking down the streets of San Francisco and
receive information about the places around him on his mobile phone without
having to click any buttons.

“Think of it as a
serendipity engine,” Schmidt said. “Think of it as a new way of
thinking about traditional text search where you don’t even have to type.”

Schmidt said the
technology sector is moving toward building an “augmented version of
humanity,” to get computers to help people do things that they’re not good
at while also helping computers do things that they’re not good at.

In other words, the door
swings both ways for humans and computers. Today, Google provides search
suggestions to the computer.

In the near feature,
Schmidt said, Google’s search engine will interpret a query such as
“what’s the weather like?” to mean that a searcher wants to know
whether or not he needs to wear a raincoat or water the plants.

“We can with
improvements in algorithms, more information, with your permission and so
forth, we can get closer to answer the question that you really asked,”
Schmidt revealed.

With such personal search
on the way, Google will have to be very careful about how it positions and
preserves consumer privacy. This sort of semantic search is one of many Google
baby steps toward the artificial intelligence systen Google so desperately
wants to realize.

To get there, Google has
two primary vehicles: the mobile Web — smartphones in particular — and cloud
computing are the means toward these ends.

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