Google's head of artificial intelligence says 'computers are remarkably dumb'

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Google’s head of machine learning doesn’t seem too worried about computers becoming smarter than humans anytime soon.

John Giannandrea, who leads the company’s machine learning efforts, said that he is not very impressed with the current intelligence of computer systems, according to a Fortune report.

“I think computers are remarkably dumb,” Giannandrea told Fortune. “A computer is like a 4-year-old child.”

Giannandrea, who has been working on making computers more human-like since the early 90s, currently works on Google’s self-driving car project using machine learning to help the vehicles detect human pedestrians.

While AI is much broader than machine learning, machine learning plays a critical role in most AI systems today. Machine learning is basically the AI algorithm that learns from data and is capable of improving over time.

For example, Google and Apple use machine learning in their smart assistants, Google Now and Siri. The virtual assistants learn your behaviour to provide better results when you ask a question or make a request.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have always played a key role in Google’s products and services, but the company is looking to ramp up its use of the technology even more.

Earlier this month, during Google’s third quarter earnings call CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company was “re-thinking” all of its products to include more artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For example, the company has begun to lean more on artificial intelligence to help enhance its search results. On Monday, Google revealed that it created an artificial intelligence system called RankBrain that is used when someone searches for something that its search system has never seen before.

However, while AI and machine intelligence has come a long way, Giannandrea told Fortune that researchers are still searching for the “holy grail” of AI, which is a computer system with human-level intelligence, capable of understanding language and context.

Read more on what Google researchers consider to be the biggest obstacles to artificial intelligence on Fortune >>

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