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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Norvig on the Google AI

Ben Goertzel talked to Google director of research Peter Norvig, and paraphrases Peter’s statement on whether or not Google is developing a powerful AI/ AGI (Artificial General Intelligence):

There has been some talk about whether Google has a top-secret project aimed at building a thinking machine. Well, I’ll tell you what happened. Larry Page came to me and said “Peter, I’ve been hearing a lot about this Strong AI stuff. Shouldn’t we be doing something in that direction?” So I said, okay. I went back to my desk and logged into our project management software. I had to write some scripts to modify it because it didn’t go far enough into the future. But I modified it so that I could put, “Human-level intelligence” on the row of the planning spreadsheet corresponding to the year 2030. And, that wasn’t up there an hour before someone else added another item to the spreadsheet, time-stamped 90 days after that: “Human-level intelligence: Macintosh port”

We have to keep in mind that AI is somewhat loosely defined. Google already has many places that would be considered AI decades ago, and may be considered AI today (Marissa Mayer includes the spellchecker on that list). But when it comes to hosting a general human-level intelligence – and we exclude concepts like CHI – we have reason to assume Google, and anyone else for that matter, isn’t quite there yet (or is keeping it secret from us!). However, the general direction Google must take to stay competitive and expose users to their ads is clear as well: make their search engine become smarter and smarter. Not coincidentally, it’s one of their top goals to have the world’s best AI research lab.

[Thanks Siggi Becker and Andreas Stuhlm├╝ller!]

Tracking AP Content

Attributor.com sent me an unsolicitied opt-out but nevertheless interesting bulk mail describing a new service of theirs that aims to empower news distributor AP to track AP content across the web. From the email:

Attributor Corporation, a provider of transparency and accountability to online publishers, today [May 31] announced that the Associated Press, the largest and oldest source of independent news and information, has selected Attributor to monitor the unauthorized use of its content online. Attributor will identify copyrighted AP material across the web, provide context on where and how the content is being used and empower the AP to make intelligent business decisions based on the use of their material.

AP makes money by licensing their content, but what it means precisely to “make intelligent business decisions” when they discover non-licensed copies is left unclear (maybe it just means “sue the hell out of a blogger”). On the other hand, tracking copycats is and was quite easy before (you can do a simple Google search, or Google blog search, for several quotes taken from different parts of the source article, for instance), the only hard part being to act up on all those copycats in any meaningful way. If you run a blog and you’ve seen a spam blog automatically fully copying all of your content without providing credit, you might know that just getting someone to react, or asking their host to take a copy down, can take weeks of emailing back and forth before it shows any results...

Google Confirms Feedburner Acquisition

Last month Tony Ruscoe reported on a rumor by Vecosys that Google is buying blog feed service Feedburner. Google now officially confirmed this in a blog post. One of the main reasons for the acquisition was so that Google can expand their scope of places to show ads, their blog post suggests. Now, Google can more easily add features to allow bloggers to add AdSense to both Blogspot blogs as well as any blog running Feedburner. [Thanks Tony Ruscoe!]

Google Face Search as Greasemonkey Script

James Xuan in the forum points to a Greasemonkey script that will add Google’s image search categories – to search for faces, or news-related images only – to the Google image search. A select box will be added to the search results, a good solution for those who like face search but don’t want to wait for Google to release this as official advanced search feature, and who don’t like to constantly alter the URL.

As an alternative, you can also add my little multi-search gadget to iGoogle, or search from the bottom of this post.

To run Greasemonkey scripts, you need to install Greasemonkey on Firefox.

[Thanks James Xuan! Image by Greasemonkey script creator.]

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