A well-known inventor and innovator, Jay Kurzweil, is starting at Google (News - Alert) as its new director of engineering. He will focus on computer projects related to language processing and machine learning.
“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,” Kurzweil said in a blog post. “We’re really on a remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation, and Google is at the forefront of much of this development.”
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He has been interested in technology, especially machine learning, from an early age.
“When I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, among other inventions,” he added. “I’ve always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people’s lives, which is what excites me as an inventor.”
The news excited several industry watchers. For instance, Deleo77 posted on a blog, “It would be great if Google gave Ray a nice budget and a platoon of researchers to let him try to bring some of his concepts to life. Kurzweil is a big idea guy. If he has a bunch of programmers and scientists on his team, and a nice pile of money, I would look forward to seeing what he can come up with.”
And Ms. Very Stupid added in a post that Kurzweil, “is an idea guy who has been doing GREAT things in the field of artificial intelligence. I think this is the PERFECT combination.”
Kurzweil is also the chancellor and co-founder of Singularity University. Singularity University provides training for corporate and government executives. It is based at the NASA Research Park located in California’s Silicon Valley. The university has gotten support from Google.
Also, Kurzweil is a sought-after speaker at technology conferences and respected author. Many describe him a “futurist” – given his ability to look at current and future needs in the technology world.
“Ray’s contributions to science and technology, through research in character and speech recognition and machine learning, have led to technological achievements that have had an enormous impact on society — such as the Kurzweil Reading Machine, used by Stevie Wonder and others to have print read aloud,” Google said in a statement. “We appreciate his ambitious, long-term thinking, and we think his approach to problem-solving will be incredibly valuable to projects we’re working on at Google.”
In commenting on his appointment at Google, Kurzweil is “best known for his theories about ‘The Singularity,’ or the point in the future when technology becomes so advanced that it starts outsmarting humans on its own.”
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Edited by Brooke Neuman