Google now wants to transform words that appear on a page into entities that mean something and have related attributes. It’s what the human brain does naturally, but for computers, it’s known as Artificial Intelligence.
It’s a challenging task, but the work has already begun. Google is “building a huge, in-house understanding of what an entity is and a repository of what entities are in the world and what should you know about those entities,” said Singhal.
In 2010, Google purchased Freebase, a community-built knowledge base packed with some 12 million canonical entities. Twelve million is a good start, but Google has, according to Singhal, invested dramatically to “build a huge knowledge graph of interconnected entities and their attributes.”
The transition from a word-based index to this knowledge graph is a fundamental shift that will radically increase power and complexity. Singhal explained that the word index is essentially like the index you find at the back of a book: “A knowledge base is huge compared to the word index and far more refined or advanced.”
Right now Google is, Singhal told me, building the infrastructure for the more algorithmically complex search of tomorrow, and that task, of course, does include more computers. All those computers are helping the search giant build out the knowledge graph, which now has “north of 200 million entities.” What can you do with that kind of knowledge graph (or base)?
Initially, you just take baby steps. Although evidence of this AI-like intelligence is beginning to show up in Google Search results, most people probably haven’t even noticed it. . . .
On the other hand, Singhal does admit that it is his dream to build the Star Trek computer. Like Siri, you could ask this computer, which appeared on the 1960s sci-fi TV show, virtually any question and get an intelligent answer. “All aspects of computing or AI improve when you have such an infrastructure in-house,” said Singhal, referring to the massive knowledge graph Google is building. “You can process query or question much better, and you get a step closer to building the Star Trek computer,” he said.
H/T Josh Wright