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Google Breeding Skynet With Print Project

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File this under either Really Bizarre or Warnings We Ignored, depending on whether or not Google’s plan to scan millions of books will instead give rise to an artificial intelligence.

When asked directly at a conference hosted by respected UK publication The Economist, Google’s Jeff Levick, director of vertical markets, did not deny the search engine company was working on artificial intelligence, ZDNet reported.

Instead, he said the Google staffer who told historian George Dyson at Google’s headquarters “We are not scanning all those books to be read by people. We are scanning them to be read by an AI,” really meant the “idea of intelligent networks of information rather than artificial intelligence.”

Dyson could have made this a bit clearer had he named the person who made that comment to him. A potential misunderstanding in something said by a relatively new staffer is one thing; if Sergey Brin said it, it’s another.

Levick falls back on the now-legendary Google claim that it won’t do evil in explaining the technology it does have under development:

“I think that goes back to the concept that these technologies can actually be empowering and good for the world if the companies implementing them are good,” he said. “Could some of these technologies be used for bad purposes? Yes. But will they by us? No.”


AI does have its place at Google now, particularly in Google News. The report mentioned a 2003 speech by a Google researcher who noted that:

“AI applications are using the infrastructure to get people useful information in interesting ways,” said Senior Research Scientist Mehran Sahami, according to reports. “There is no human intervention. Google News is an example of where AI is making a huge difference. It’s used several million times a day,” he added.


Do we have anything to fear from Google? Maybe not. Maybe we do.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Google Breeding Skynet With Print Project
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