Google is in the AI Business

I don’t know why it took me this long to come up with this, but Google isn’t in the search or advertising business. Right now advertising is how they make their coin, but that’s not a plan for future growth. Google takes in all the data it can find because they’re trying to make a really valuable product: artificial intelligence.

Why don’t they explicitly own up to this? Because no big Wall Street business can admit their long term strategy is AI. That word has been too contaminated by Hollywood and science fiction. When business means AI, they say cute phrases like “predictive algorithms” or “behavioral learning.”

But Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research, acknowledges the Google framework: “Big data, simple algorithms.” Read his other juicy quotes reposted by Adrian at Cartesian Product.

Would you invest in a company today that had algorithms for a computer to speak, listen, drive, predict your priorities, your preferences, to answer your questions, or give you medical advice? Or would you invest in a company that sold advertisements— even if they did it very well? Facebook’s still the latter, but Google’s becoming the former.