It told me an awful lot, through the typists of news outlets, the webmasters of those sites, the lawyers that most assuredly edited the company line for propagation through the company, and of course via its ever-more-intelligent algorithms.
That’s right, I talked to a website about itself today. I think I was inspired by watching Transcendence this afternoon, which was a pretty incredible movie about a very delicate and possibly immensely relevant topic: strong AI, and what it means if it gets loose on the internet, where it has all the computing power of humanity already at its fingertips. Johnny Depp plays a humble, yet brilliant computer science researcher who has developed a method of programming a general artificial intelligence – an AI that has all the cognitive power of a human and more, and can use it to do all kinds of hugely parallel data operations that add up to what you and I might call a thinking machine. This isn’t that much of a problem until a Luddite terrorist organization blows up all the AI labs in the country, and all the research is consolidated in his lab – someone else, it seems, has shown how to upload a mind to control a general artificial intelligence, giving the computer a personality.
<controversial statement> As a note, I don’t think we’re going to figure out how to upload a mind before we figure out how to make humans live forever. The first one is a matter of math wizardry that the smoothest imaging machine could not imagine starting right now. The second is a matter of mere chemicals, many of which might be in clinical research labs right now. </controversial statement>
Anyway, it’s a big movie with Morgan Freeman and Johnny Depp, it’s smart, it’s fun, it’s relatively informed although a billion computer scientists just rolled over in their future graves at even the notion of a general artificial intelligence. But this was about Google, not some huge AI that is a billion times as intelligent as all the humans on earth put together. (Although some might say, there’s a thin line…)
But some people are doing more than talking to Google about itself. They’re letting Google tell them how they run their day. And if the app doesn’t eat my old iPhone 4s battery alive, I’m signing up. Because sometimes? Hell if I know how to run my day properly. Google has the answer to just about everything, I suppose it might make an okay office assistant.
If you, too, would like to talk to Google, here’s an elementary-school level primer on how to speak Google to Google so it Googles very specific things for you:
Honestly, just google Google tricks. There are 4,920,000 results. They’re probably mostly redundant.