Google finally smarter than humans...
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Accelerating Returns
For the past few months, a "very large fraction" of the millions of queries a second that people type into Google have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain.
When Google parent company Alphabet reported eye-popping earnings last week, its executives couldn't stop talking up the company's investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
For any other company that would be a wonky distraction from its core business. At Google, the two are intertwined.
Artificial intelligence sits at the extreme end of machine learning, which sees people create software that can learn about the world. Google has been one of the biggest corporate sponsors of AI, and has invested heavily in it for videos, speech, translation and, recently, search.
For the past few months, a "very large fraction" of the millions of queries a second that people type into the company's search engine have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain, said Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist with the company, outlining for the first time the emerging role of AI in search.
RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities - called vectors - that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn't familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.
The system helps Google deal with the 15 per cent of queries a day it gets which its systems have never seen before, he said. And RankBrain's usage of AI means it works differently than the other technologies in the search engine.
So far, RankBrain is living up to its AI hype. Google search engineers, who spend their days crafting the algorithms that underpin the search software, were asked to eyeball some pages and guess which they thought Google's search engine technology would rank on top. While the humans guessed correctly 70 per cent of the time, RankBrain had an 80 per cent success rate.
Typical Google users agree. In experiments, the company found that turning off this feature "would be as damaging to users as forgetting to serve half the pages on Wikipedia," Corrado said.
Getting here wasn't easy. The rollout of RankBrain represents a year-long effort by a team that started with about five Google engineers, including search specialist Yonghui Wu, and deep-learning expert Thomas Strohmann. It took a long time to make sure the system was ranking things correctly.
The effort expanded to dozens of people after Amit Singhal, the company's senior vice president of search, gave the green light for it to be rolled out across all of Google search in early 2015.