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Exponential Thinking

List of Google Now voice commands

Google Now can do tons of great stuff using nothing but voice commands. The list is more longer than you might think!

Source: List of Google Now voice commands

 

Google Now isn’t new but the feature is getting more rich all the time. That’s because it’s learning.

The learning computer has been the dream and destination since Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace worked together on their invention the Analytical Engine computational device which is the first ancestor to the modern computer. Even in the early infancy the two debated voraciously if the device they invented which only performed the computations they programmed, could one day learn on it’s own and be interacted as though it were not a machine.

Alan Turing knew of this philosophical debate and created a test known as the Turing test which consisted of three questions for being able to tell the difference between a response of a human being from that of a computer. Turing is an incredible man worth study and recently the topic of the movie “The Imitation Game” which chronicled his work on the Enigma machine which he designed to crack the cipher being used by the German’s in World War II. He was able to foresee the power of computers and knew how easily they could be programmed to deceive as much as find truths.

This fantasy which seems like it’s part of a science-fiction novel is incredibly real. Jarvis from Iron Man is here and it’s call Google Now. Apple came out with Siri a few years back and people had a lot of fun at parties showing off the tricks they’d learned to make Siri perform.

Google Now is backed by the Google search algorithms which makes it a little different. Unlike Apple who’s core business is hardware, Google’s core business is about knowing you. They are inventing artificial intelligence that does a better job of demonstrating empathy than an actual human being is capable of doing. Coupled with Moore’s law, the Google AI is expected to be smarter than the smartest man in just a few years. Meaning we indeed will no longer be able to tell the difference between a computer that needed us to program them, and one that does not.

So Google Now may seem like a novelty, and for now it’s function is limited to that which the programmers allow. Rest assured, while we’re “playing” and “trying” Google is learning and their destination is clear. They are making the technology we really need; the technology that doesn’t need us.

Can a computer really think on it’s own? Or are some problems only built for the human brain, no matter how much computational brute force you can throw at it?

Categories: Business, Computers, Crowdsource, Economics, Linguistics, Math, Privacy, Technology

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