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The Google cloud [part 3]

As I discussed here, and here, Google seems to seriously plan for and work towards a prime position in cloud computing (web 3.0?). A couple of interesting links relate to that. First comes the now infamous interview Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, gave at the WSJ. In that interview he made a number of comments indicating where Google are looking at the moment, but for some reason all it was remembered for is his quip that because of privacy issues with social networks in the future kids may end up having to change their names when they reach adulthood. Ok, this is odd, and it came out of nowhere, but surely there are more interesting bits in what he had to say. Much more interesting for example is his hint that Google are seriously working on developing semantic algorithms:

“As you go from the search box [to the next phase of Google], you really want to go from syntax to semantics, from what you typed to what you meant. And that’s basically the role of [Artificial Intelligence].  I think we will be the world leader in that for a long time.”

This statement has to be read in the context of Google’s move to the cloud. In that paradigm the semantic depth of your search query will be provided by your entire cloud footprint. This is quite literally an Artificial Intelligence in full operational mode. As William Gibson writes in a recent article in the New York Times,

“We never imagined that artificial intelligence would be like this. We imagined discrete entities. Genies.”

We imagined HAL, and Wintermute, but instead of managing an ultimately controllable anthropomorphic machine we have to deal with a distributed mind that is built of…us. An ambient socio-digital system.

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