Google has done some pretty spectacular things. They’ve gone from being the world’s best search engine to a standing powerhouse of innovation in tech. The list of homegrown products spans across Gmail, the Android OS, the Pixel smartphone and Google Glass, to name just a few.
However, Google is quite fond of acquiring other stellar companies (YouTube, anyone?), and this strategy has some key implications for the global tech industry.
The latest scoop from Google is in Artificial Intelligence. DeepMind, an AI company acquired by Google in 2014, has developed a bot that has taught itself how to walk. The bot- essentially a set of code- takes on humanoid, planar and animal form, and is programmed to move from one point to another. It is then let loose on virtual terrain, where it learns to walk, run, jump and climb over obstacles.
The nifty thing about this program is that it learns in real time. The AI develops motor control skills by trial and error and without specific instructions. And the results are stellar – the program can turn, leap and run – movements that it taught itself in complex environments.
Artificial Intelligence like this has some pretty neat implications. If a program can learn sophisticated motor skills in real time, a diverse number of fields could fine tune this ability for better results in animation, biomechanics, gaming and robotics. Real-time learning and complex movements are a combination useful to many; the product potentially being better entertainment and smarter objects in virtual and real life.
For Google, the question remains: how they will look to employ this AI development? Will the Android bot come to life? Will the next decade see robot athletes, or dancers? Maybe not, but the first steps to producing great movement in AI have been taken. And Google has its name all over it.