Ray Kurzweil Hired by Google as Director of Engineering

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News Posted: Sat, Dec 15 2012 12:49 PM
In what is probably the best free agent pickup in computing in a very, very long time, Google has hired Ray Kurzweil as Director of Engineering. Yes, that Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist who came up with all that synthesizer technology and regularly prognosticates on the technological innovations of tomorrow.

His primary tasks at Google will involve machine learning and language processing, which taps into some of Google’s existing projects, which Kurzweil says he predicted pre-millenium.

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Kurzweil, the newest Googler

“In 1999, I said that in about a decade we would see technologies such as self-driving cars and mobile phones that could answer your questions, and people criticized these predictions as unrealistic,” his website quoted him as saying. “Fast forward a decade — Google has demonstrated self-driving cars, and people are indeed asking questions of their Android phones.“ Kurzweil further stated that he believes Google is at the forefront of these innovations and many more.

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“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality,” he said. Kurzweil’s first day at Google will be Monday, December 17th.
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OSunday replied on Sat, Dec 15 2012 4:17 PM

This is going to end up with Google pushing the limits on innovative in a good way, or downright wacky way.

Either way this is really interesting, I don't know what Kurzweil's qualifications are for engineering or computing since I've only seen him from a literary perspective in writings from him and others about his predictions, but if there were ever a bold move by Google, this is definitely one of them.

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Dorkstar replied on Sat, Dec 15 2012 6:58 PM

What a great pair, a creative thinker with a creative company.  I've always preferred the stranger-than-most type of leadership in companies, they always have the greatest ideas.  Heck, look at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, they aren't exactly the typical CEO types.

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Dec 15 2012 11:15 PM

I don't know Kurzweil is great mind although from a different perspective. The thing is though I would think Google as one of a very few has huge geek credentials from the technology side already. Kurzweil has it from a very different end that is in the end technology as well but from a music creative creation side. I mean he made the modern synthesizer a man Forbes refers to as "The Ultimate Thinking Machine" really. Not that he would not be welcome to any team but he reminds me of Gates and Jobes just from a different field at least in many ways. We could see some very great things come from a collaboration like this.

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OSunday replied on Sat, Dec 15 2012 11:34 PM

I'd even dare to say that Kurzweil exceeds the creativity and difference in thinking than that of Gates or Jobs.
After all neither of them have quite the back ground or experience in literally being a thinking machine like he does since they had the concerns of business in the back of their minds too. Although Kurzweil will have to consider that as well he has the basis of sort of pure creative thought already to build off of 

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Dorkstar replied on Sun, Dec 16 2012 1:49 PM

 

Yeah, he's in no one Jobs or Gates as far as the technological intelligence goes.  Those guys were on a different level of expertise, but all 3 of them share that "special" gift of obsession + Genius that has fueled some of the most successful products we have known in the last decade.  I feel as if the cotton gin may have been more revolutionary, but it couldn't play solitaire.   

 

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OSunday replied on Sun, Dec 16 2012 5:42 PM

Creativity in Kurzweil vs Knowledge/Expertise in Jobs and Gates, it'll be interesting to see how the two size up.

And while passion is definitely a huge factor in Steve Jobs and Bill Gates success if you ever have the chance to take a look at a book called "Outliers" which analyzes what it takes/means to be successful a lot of it was actually luck. In their development of their skill sets both were exposed to unique resources and opportunities that others didn't have simply by chance. Now it's because of their passion and desire that they were able to take advantage of them and become what they are today, but without the luck of having those opportunities cross their paths they likely wouldn't have been as successful or in the positions that they are in today

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digitaldd replied on Wed, Dec 19 2012 12:06 PM

Dorkstar:

 

Yeah, he's in no one Jobs or Gates as far as the technological intelligence goes.  Those guys were on a different level of expertise, but all 3 of them share that "special" gift of obsession + Genius that has fueled some of the most successful products we have known in the last decade.  I feel as if the cotton gin may have been more revolutionary, but it couldn't play solitaire.   

 

 

I don't know about that, he did invent the flatbed scanner, was one of the pioneers in optical character recognition and text to speech. His text to speech work got him in touch with Stevie Wonder who he developed some improved music synthesizers with. Basically the man is genius but he's never been great at marketing.

Keep in mind Kurzweil isn't running the company he's helping lead its direction at least in engineering.

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OSunday replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 3:39 PM

I didn't know Kurzweil had ever actually developed products and technology, I thought that his work was primarily conceptual, that's interesting

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