Former Google CEO Erich Schmidt has high hopes for artificial intelligence (AI),Bloomberg reports.
The billionaire, who is now executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, delivered a talk in New York this week where he claimed AI has the potential to fix some of the world’s “hard problems,” including population growth, climate change, human development, and education.
The conference was also attended by representatives from Facebookand DeepMind, a London-based AI startup that was bought by Google.
Self-learning platforms underpinned by AI can help scientists analyse large datasets and understand the links between cause and effect, according to Schmidt.
Schmidt said the field of AI is becoming so important that companies need to start working together to create standardised approaches where they use similar tools and publish their breakthroughs to the academic community.
“Every single advance has occurred because smart people got in a room and eventually they standardised approaches” said Schmidt. “The promise of this is so profound that we — Alphabet, Google, whatever our name is at the moment — are working incredibly hard to advance these platforms.”
Google is one of several Silicon Valley firms investing time and money into the field of AI. If the company is able to make products like Google Search just a little bit smarter with the help of new AI algorithms, then Google’s advertising revenues could increase by several million pounds a year, according to a Business Insider source.
The Mountain View-headquartered company acquired Oxford AI spinout DeepMind in 2014 for a reported £400 million in 2014 and an army of roughly 150 DeepMind researchers are now building self-learning agents that are used across a number of Google’s products.
“Our deep learning tool has now been deployed in many environments, particularly across Google,” said DeepMind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman at a machine learning conference in London last year, citing Google+ and Image Search as examples.
Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are also aiming to make advances in the field.
“The power of AI technology is it can solve problems that scale to the whole planet,” Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, is reported to have said at the event.