Google’s New Head of AI Faces a Brave New World

Jeff Dean is so good at his job, his colleagues joke he may be AI himself.

Google has a new head of artificial intelligence (AI) that hopes to expand the company’s focus from entertainment applications to new areas such as healthcare. Jeff Dean is a 50-year-old computer scientist who has been with the company since 1999. As one of Google’s master coders, he helped the company “become a computational powerhouse with new approaches to databases and large-scale data analysis.”

According to Wired, “Dean helped ignite Silicon Valley’s AI boom when he joined Google’s secretive X lab in 2011 to investigate an approach to machine learning known as deep neural networks. The project produced software that learned to recognize cats on YouTube. Google went on to use deep neural networks to greatly improve the accuracy of its speech recognition service, and has since made the technique the heart of the company’s strategy for just about everything.”

The company is hush hush on specifics, but it’s evident Dean hopes to open new lines of business for Google with AI.

“New machine learning capabilities or research results might enable us to do new things that Google doesn’t now,” says Dean. “Health is one that’s pretty far along in this direction.”

You can read more about Dean and his upcoming AI projects here.

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