Within 15 years computers and robots will be able to think better than humans, Google’s top artificial intelligence expert has claimed.
Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, has predicted that by 2029 computers will be more intelligent than human beings and will be able to understand what we say, learn from experience, make jokes, tell stories and even flirt.
The 66 year old, leading American inventor and futurist, is of the opinion that the Turing test – the moment when computers become cleverer than human beings – will be passed in 2029.
In an interview with The Observer, Kurzweil said that his prediction was foreshadowed by recent high-profile AI developments, and Hollywood films like Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix.
He said “In 1999 we had a conference of AI experts and we took a poll by hand about when you think the Turing test would be passed. The consensus was hundreds of years. And a pretty good contingent thought that it would never be done.”
“Today, I’m pretty much at the median of what AI experts think and the public is kind of with them.”
“The public has seen things like Siri (Apple’s voice recognition software), where you talk to a computer. They’ve seen the Google self-driving cars. My views are not radical any more.”
The prediction comes at a time when Google has assembled the largest artificial intelligence laboratory on the planet. The internet giant recently bought Boston Dynamics, one of world’s top robotics companies which makes advanced military robots, and paid £242 million for British start-up DeepMind, which specialises in machine learning.
Kurzweil is currently working on a project with Google which will allow computers to fully understand language and learn from experience.