Ray Kurzweil to become Google's top engineer

Singularity Beta here we come


Futurist, artificial intelligence expert and inventor Ray Kurzweil will join Google as a director of engineering.

Kurzweil's profile is such that it was he – and not his new employer – who announced the new gig, and on his own web site to boot.

Google is so far silent on the reasons for Kurzweil's appointment, but the new hire's own account of his new job says he will “work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing”.

Kurzweil also says he feels Google is his kind of place to work, and not just for the free food.

“In 1999, I said that in about a decade we would see technologies such as self-driving cars and mobile phones that could answer your questions, and people criticized these predictions as unrealistic. Fast forward a decade — Google has demonstrated self-driving cars, and people are indeed asking questions of their Android phones.” Google, Kurzweil goes on to say, “is at the forefront” of a “remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation” and he is therefore “thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.”

Just what Kurzweil's arrival at Google will mean for its products is, at this stage, unknowable. It seems sensible, however, to predict three things.

One is an awful lot of speculation about Google wanting to accelerate the advent of The Singularity, the Kurzweil-aligned (but Vernor Vinge derived) idea that machines will eventually make us post-human. The Register therefore awaits the Beta of Google TransHumanism eagerly.

Another is comparisons to Ray Ozzie, the Lotus guru who filled Bill Gates' shoes – with mixed results – at Microsoft before bailing out. We therefore expect lots of speculation about whether it is possible for even the smartest outsiders to bust into tech giants' cultures and make meaningful contributions.

Lastly Kurzweil's pre-emption of his employer, in terms of announcing his new gig, will probably be declared to represent The New Something To Do With Employment Practices, and lead to dozens of copycat blog posts (I've just been appointed chief experiential evange-sales functionary of Startup X) heading our way far too soon. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • US won’t prosecute ‘good faith’ security researchers under CFAA
    Well, that clears things up? Maybe not.

    The US Justice Department has directed prosecutors not to charge "good-faith security researchers" with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) if their reasons for hacking are ethical — things like bug hunting, responsible vulnerability disclosure, or above-board penetration testing.

    Good-faith, according to the policy [PDF], means using a computer "solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability."

    Additionally, this activity must be "carried out in a manner designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices, machines, or online services to which the accessed computer belongs, or those who use such devices, machines, or online services."

    Continue reading
  • Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips
    AI chips are sucking down 600W+ and the solution could be to drown them.

    Intel this week unveiled a $700 million sustainability initiative to try innovative liquid and immersion cooling technologies to the datacenter.

    The project will see Intel construct a 200,000-square-foot "mega lab" approximately 20 miles west of Portland at its Hillsboro campus, where the chipmaker will qualify, test, and demo its expansive — and power hungry — datacenter portfolio using a variety of cooling tech.

    Alongside the lab, the x86 giant unveiled an open reference design for immersion cooling systems for its chips that is being developed by Intel Taiwan. The chip giant is hoping to bring other Taiwanese manufacturers into the fold and it'll then be rolled out globally.

    Continue reading
  • US recovers a record $15m from the 3ve ad-fraud crew
    Swiss banks cough up around half of the proceeds of crime

    The US government has recovered over $15 million in proceeds from the 3ve digital advertising fraud operation that cost businesses more than $29 million for ads that were never viewed.

    "This forfeiture is the largest international cybercrime recovery in the history of the Eastern District of New York," US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement

    The action, Peace added, "sends a powerful message to those involved in cyber fraud that there are no boundaries to prosecuting these bad actors and locating their ill-gotten assets wherever they are in the world."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022