The Singularity is Nigh

Ray Kurzweil Says He’ll Get ‘Unlimited Resources’ to Work on AI at Google [Updated]

Will Google's personality be nerdy or gossipy? Place your bets now!
(Wikipedia.)

(Wikipedia.)

Last month, Ray Kurzweil, the unofficial president of the singularity booster club, took a job at Google. This, of course, inspired much breathless speculation about just how a company in possession of an enormous treasure trove of our data plans to employ such a thinker.

Well today we got a bit of a hint, thanks to an event at Singularity U., wherein X Prize chairman Peter Diamandis and Mr. Kurzweil interviewed each other. Vivek Wadhwa, naturally, live-tweeted their discussion from the audience–and it sounds like a doozy:

We imagine that at Google, the term “unlimited resources” is taken rather literally.

This of course inspires us to speculate about what sort of personality a Google-engineered AI would have. Will it bear an eerie resemblance to Eric Schmidt or even (more ominously) Larry Page? Or will the apple fall farther from the tree, with all those Gchats and Android data points producing not an ultra-rational thinker but rather the computerized version of an eavesdropping neighborhood gossip?

Updated 1/6/2013: In a follow-up conversation with TechCrunch, Kurzweil denied that he would be given “unlimited resources,” but said rather that he’d be getting “sufficient resources for a very important project.” We still imagine that’s a pretty substantial amount of resources. He did however give a bit more detail about what he’d actually be doing, which is midwifing, ultimately, a future of search that looks a little like this:

This friend of yours, this cybernetic friend, that knows that you that have certain questions about certain health issues or business strategies. And, It can then be canvassing all the new information that comes out in the world every minute and then bring things to your attention without you asking about them.

There was a bit of bad news for the space enthusiasts, though:

Sorry, Elon.

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