Eric Schmidt: Here are the three most important things Google is working on

Google’s self-driving cars and robots get a lot of press, but the company’s real future is in machine learning, the technology that enables computers to get smarter and more personal, says Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt’s remarks came during a conversation with Box CEO Aaron Levie on stage at BoxDev 2015, the newly-public cloud storage company’s developer event in San Francisco.

During the conversation, Levie tried to steer the conversation towards Google’s robotics projects. Schmidt chided him for focusing on what he called the company’s “5%, 10% projects.”

“The core thing Google is working on is basically machine learning,” Schmidt says.

There are three technologies Google is working to rapidly improve, Schmidt says:

  • Voice recognition, which Google did a lot of pioneering work on “even though Siri gets all the credit,” Schmidt says.
  • Image recognition, which lets Google place pictures into intelligent categories.
  • Machine learning, which enables Google to learn more about its users over time and provide personal results.

“Then we can begin to suggest things,” says Schmidt.

As for those robots, Schmidt says that Google really believes self-driving cars are the future.

“A hundred years from now, people are going to laugh when they see a movie and people get in a car and drive in it,” Schmidt says.

“Yeah, why didn’t they just get an Uber,” Levie joked in response.

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