A few days back, an email about Google Artificial Intelligence landed in my inbox. The topic surprised me so much that I decided to do a little digging online. I’ve found a few posts about Google AI, as many people call it, and I discovered some really cool things that I want to share with you.
Yes, Google is one of the most innovative organizations in the world. But when it comes to “googleness”, innovation is just part of the picture. The other part is knowledge, skill, training, experience, and – why not? – the guts to come up with new ideas, new ways of doing things. Some will call that madness; others will applaud Google for ingenuity. But Larry Page, CEO and co-founder of Google, refers to it using a simple yet controversial expression: “moon shots”.
What’s all the fuss about “moon shots”? Well, when I discovered that “moon shots” actually refer to the “eccentric” acquisitions Google has made recently, everything became crystal clear. But guess what? AI is part of those acquisitions. Now, the question is: Why a company interested in promoting ads and helping people find information online suddenly decides to spend millions of dollars on AI? Where’s the catch?
Sorry to disappoint, there’s no catch. After all, we’re talking about Google. But what’s really surprising is that, in this case, AI doesn’t mean driverless cars, or drones that deliver packages, or robots that cook our dinner, but a new age of algorithms, geo-targeting, and convergence. As fictional as it may sound, AI will soon change the entire search technology, which will irreversibly impact everything we do.
Ray Kurzweil, inventor and director of engineering at Google, explains that new human-like AI applications will be able to understand text and images as well as humans. How is this possible? AI technology integrated with Google’s search engine will analyse and learn everything about our behaviour online, how we look for data over the Internet, what words we use to get relevant information, and what elements we click (is it a text, an image, or a video?).
AI applications will use every occasion they have to learn more about us. Taking this to the extreme, machines will most probably have human rights one day…Now don’t worry, we’re just kidding. But the good news is that we’ll be able to interact with Google one day just as with a human assistant. And that’s pretty cool.
Another point worth mentioning is that anyone who practices “unorthodox” SEO techniques must stop right away. If you’re currently tricking Google by doing things you shouldn’t do (e.g. using irrelevant keywords for extra page hits, changing pages after they’ve been indexed and ranked, duplicating content, linking to sites with unrelated content, hijacking URLs, etc.) chances are that AI applications will learn not to trust you. This will kill your business in the virtual environment, and you’ll probably never “dance” with Google again.
Are you surprised? Don’t be. In fact, you should have seen it coming. Google has been using a series of tools, such as the “cute” Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and Pigeon along with “crawlers” and indexing apps to make us behave exemplarily online. Even more, “googlers” have told us exactly what we should and shouldn’t do…Everything has predicted the “big shift” we’re witnessing today.
As we’ve developed an indestructible relationship with the technology surrounding us, we’ve slowly turned machines into a valuable surrogate audience, into our advisers, friends, and families without even realising it. Now, we have to live our lives accordingly, whether we like it or not.