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Google's Eric Schmidt: Machine learning will cause 'every successful huge IPO win in 5 years'

Eric SchmidtBusiness InsiderEric Schmidt

Google’s billionaire executive chairman Eric Schmidt (who describes himself as “a programmer who sort of got lucky at Google”) says he’s seen the future of wealth creation from the IT industry and its name is “machine learning.”

So he said during a keynote speech during Google’s Cloud Computing Platform tech conference on Wednesday in San Francisco.

“Machine learning. This is the next transformation,” Schmidt says. “I’m a programmer who sort of got lucky at Google. But the programming paradigm is changing. Instead of programming a computer, you teach a computer to learn something and it does what you want.”

One of the first areas of machine learning that Google has focused on is “vision.” While any system can store a photo, computer vision involves teaching the computer to understand what’s happening in the image, the same as a human would. (By the way, Google’s vision service also works in the real world. The company has built robots that can scan your face, detect your emotions and react accordingly).

One example is the Google Photos app, Schmidt says. The app gathers the data from millions of users uploading their photos (aka it “crowdsources” the data) and “classifies photos into what you are doing in them. How it does that is beyond me,” Schmidt says.

He believes Google Photos is the prototype for the next generation of apps using machine learning to create “something that’s better than what humans can do. You are literally going to take crowdsourced data and compute something new, discover something new.”

And he’s “convinced” that this model, cloud computing/crowdsourced data/machine learning, “will be the basis and fundamentals of every successful huge IPO win in 5 years. In the same sense that the transition to apps five years ago, which all of us participated in, created the modern corporations of Uber, Snapchat and others.”

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