Those who are looking forward to their Android devices becoming smarter have a small reason to celebrate, as author, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is joining Google as Director of Engineering.
While Kurzweil may currently be best known for his controversial views regarding the concept of a technological singularity, he has been a pioneer in fields like optical character recognition (OCR) and text-to-speech. It's likely that his expertise in these areas has much to do with his new position at Google, though the released statement is vague, simply stating that he will be working on “new projects involving machine learning and language processing.”
In yesterday's statement, Kurzweil said “I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17,” adding later that “I’m 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.”
Depending on where Kurzweil is focusing his efforts, it could mean a lot. The combination of machine learning and language processing mentioned in the statement would seem to point towards a more refined version of where we're already headed: less typing and more talking. As technology improves, its not difficult to imagine our mobile devices taking a place as full-fledged personal assistants that work fully hands-free.
What do you think Kurzweil will bring to Google? Is this a good move or a bad move for the company?