Artificial Intelligence – is it something that’s closer to reality than we realize? The answer is most certainly yes.
Up until now AI has been the stuff of science fiction, but that’s not going to be the case for much longer. Megacorporation Google is stepping in to bring on the future with its moves towards creating AI.
SEO Leads To More Than Search Rankings
AI doesn’t have to be cut from whole cloth – it can be derived from information and infrastructures that already exist. That’s precisely the vision that Google sees with its pioneering steps in AI. All it has to be is simply a computer designed to parse and import Google’s gargantuan databases of information into a massive storage array and use that high quality content to teach itself and learn.
Over the last two decades, Google has collected almost unimaginable amounts of data through its search engine and other ventures. What seemed innocuous twenty years ago – an Internet search – laid the foundation for the future of computers that can think for themselves.
Teaching Computers To Think
Computers learn to think in the same way that humans learn to think – through the absorption and transmutation of information. For humans, that information comes from sensory stimuli. That might come in the form of taste, touch, sound, sight, or smell. They are deluged with a massive amount of information as soon as they exit the womb, information that at first they don’t have any means of making sense out of.
Computers are the same way, though the modality is of course strikingly different as computers aren’t driven by the desire for pleasurable outcomes in the way that humans are, but are instead driven by programming. First a computer absorbs a large amount of data (think of all of that Google data), then it processes that information and transmutes it into something that is completely different and totally unique. Eventually the computer learns how its actions shape the responses that it gets from others and it then learns to alter its actions in order to elicit the desired result.
Google is driving more and more data through its servers, feeding them more and more information that has the potential to feed the development of AI in ways that up until this point have just not been possible. Just as that tiny baby needs to be stimulated in a wide variety of ways in order to learn to effectively adapt to his or her environment, so too does AI need to be stimulated in a wide variety of ways in order to adapt and grow.
This process is clearly visible in the first real test of Google’s AI capabilities. For months, Google’s AI engine read more than three thousand romance novels, a lofty task for anyone. The goal was to see if the creation would be able to understand the nuances of human language more fully through a targeted exposure. By reading romance novels, Google AI was exposed to a rich and varied amount of human language. However just as with a human child, Google AI wasn’t just expected to consume the input, but eventually to create its own. Google AI is currently being taught to generate fiction based on what it’s taken in, a task that is coming in fits and starts at first but which is progressing.
What This Means For The Web
This is all incredibly tantalizing and thought provoking – but what does it mean for the Web?
The intelligence behind Google AI is derived from and flows through Google’s search engine. That’s of course the most relevant place for the public to see it, and it’s the thing that businesses who do business on the Web must understand in order to be successful.
In an effort to gain more information and to make itself and even more of a central hub, Google continues to drive more and more content to be sourced directly on its servers. Since Google has full control over its algorithms, it can make it so content published directly to them shows up higher in search results. We see this Google Businesses Pages as well, often with the page and reviews posted on Google ranking above the actual website.
Google isn’t the only place that this is happening on the web, as a similar drive is seen at that other online behemoth Facebook, which is pulling and extraordinary amount of content directly into its fold with Facebook Instant Articles. The trend toward larger businesses housing content directly is something that business should expect to see more of.
Could this mean that websites become less relevant as time marches on? Quite possibly. Rather than thousands of tiny hosting services holding onto millions of sites that pay hosting fees, we could very well see the hosting going to these giants who have more than just searches or even advertising in mind. Both Google and Facebook are looking towards technology of the future, technology like AI, as a driving force behind their innovations and behind their day to day business. They see their mission as far beyond what the web is today.
On The Horizon
Google and others are charging ahead with the development of AI, taking computers not only to the next level in development, but into another realm of existence, one that is both directly derived from the humanity that has created them but which is at the same time wholly different and new.
Expect to see revolutionary steps in the world of artificial intelligence come to the forefront in the next decade and beyond. Given the tremendous revolutions that we’ve already seen in technology, the world today looks strikingly different from the world of twenty years ago. Another revolution is on the horizon, though this one is likely not to be in the realm of interpersonal communication between humans, but rather in the deluge of changes that will derive from the rise of AI. This isn’t science fiction anymore.
Pete Peranzo is the CEO of Imaginovation, a full service, turn-key digital solutions company serving Raleigh, NC and Charlotte, NC. He is a results driven individual with over fifteen years in the IT and software industry. Pete’s background in customer support is a driving factor in the company’s long term success and reputation. He has embedded customer service into the company’s core culture, and feels that fast turnaround, great communication and high quality support are keys to long term business relationships. Follow him on Twitter @PetePeranzo.