Speaking at Google Cloud Platform in San Francisco, the chairman of Alphabet and former Google CEO highlighted artificial intelligence as the “next evolution” in computing.
This will will spur the creation of new apps and services, he said. “Machine learning and crowdsourcing data will be the basis and fundamentals of every successful, huge IPO win in five years, in the same sense that the transition to [mobile] apps five years ago created the modern corporations of Uber, Snapchat and others.”
Schmidt highlighted Google AlphaGo - which defeated Go champion Lee Sedol last week - as an example of the power of artificial intelligence.
He also cited Google’s Photos image search software as a practical example of how machine learning can be applied to create new products and services when applied to large crowd-sourced datasets. Google Photos - which uses the firm’s open source TensorFlow framework to detect the contents of an image - is able to organise the millions of photos uploaded by its users into thousands of categories, such as location.
"How it does that is beyond me," Schmidt said, "I literally still don’t understand."
He argued that the principles underpinning Photos can be replicated by other businesses.
"You are going to use machine learning to take that data and do something that is better than what humans are doing," he said. "You are going to take human crowd-sourced data and you are going to discover something new."
Google announced today that it is making some of the AI capabilities powering its internal applications - such as Smart Reply and voice recognition - available to more users.
The Cloud ML platform "makes it easy for you to build accurate, large scale machine learning models in a short amount of time", the company says.
It also launched the alpha version of Speech API - which translates audio speech to text - joining its Vision and Translate APIs on its cloud platform.
Google senior fellow, Jeff Dean, described the technology underpinning Cloud ML as the "secret sauce" the company is putting into "more and more of our products", and highlighted the potential for innovation as it is used by customers.
"We are essentially trying to build higher levels of understanding. We think the cloud products we introduced today will allow other companies to build the same kind of understanding and insight from their data and we think that is pretty important," he told journalists today.
"To make it really easy to go from a machine learning idea to trying out that machine model and then deploying it at scale is a pretty important capability."
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