As Google’s head of artificial intelligence takes charge of search, deep learning is already changing the way Googling works.
AI in Google Search
The Artificial intelligence which Google new head of search will implement includes “deep neural networks, networks of hardware and software that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain.”
Not a small undertaking I think. But can machines think? Stephen Hawkins says we should be very careful what we entrust to AI and to the new intelligent robots. He speculates that we may build it but we may not control it! Now that is a scary thought. But maybe its ok in search “By analyzing vast amounts of digital data, these neural nets can learn all sorts of useful tasks, like identifying photos, recognizing commands spoken into a smartphone, and, as it turns out, responding to Internet search queries. In some cases, they can learn a task so well that they outperform humans. They can do it better. They can do it faster. And they can do it at a much larger scale.” Ok, I get it. Hawkins may be right – we are building AI that will out-think us!
But its going to take some time and as I am getting on in age I suspect I will not be subject to the machine, but who know. Anyway it is a bold step forward for Google to reinvent search which today relies on a huge set of rules and 500 plus variables that are tweaked and changed each day. That sounds like AI to me already. But the difference is that the new AI does not have rules, it learns and adjust based on history. So it cant be outsmarted by SEO geeks who study the rules and fix pages and content so that they get on-top of search results regardless. Its not clear if AI will be the technology of mobile as the latest Google mobile travel initiative is to bypass search altogether and revert back to digital guides of googles choices. Maybe AI will build those choices?.
Its not entirely new and its been around in Google for several years. It got included in search in 2015 when Google dropped in its deep learning system called RankBrain to generate responses to search queries. it is now “a very large fraction” of the millions of queries that go through the search engine with each passing second. That AI department was headed by John Giannandrea who is now taking over Google search. But it was Amit Singhal, who just retired as head of search who approved the roll-out of RankBrain. For ages he resist the move as he knew it would be hard to understand how it would work and harder to manage. Apparently it is “difficult to understand how neural nets behave” and it can be almost impossible to to tweak their behavior”. … Stephen Hawkins you were Right!
See the article at http://www.wired.com/2016/02/ai-is-changing-the-technology-behind-google-searches/
Levels of AI
In our company we have experimented with behavior responsive systems, predictive technology and personalization. We build RealHolidays dynamic package way back in 1999 and have used that matchmaker technology in the latest holiday planning system at http://holidas.barbados.org. Its not AI but a fun way of helping people find the right holiday experience by building a personality profile based on their choices and matching that back to hotel of like character. See the write up on the blog. http://barbados.org/blog/new-holiday-planner-launched/#.VrSkShhe5vA
Then their is AI singularity meaning that the transformation is so profound that we cannot see beyond the event horizon. And that one huge step away from behaviours responsive technology. I think it is what Hawkins was anxious about and it takes a scientific mind to even comprehend it. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
“The technological singularity is a hypothetical event in which artificial general intelligence (constituting, for example, intelligent computers, computer networks, or robots) would be capable of recursive self-improvement (progressively redesigning itself), or of autonomously building ever smarter and more powerful machines than itself, up to the point of a runaway effect—an intelligence explosion—that yields an intelligence surpassing all current human control or understanding. Because the capabilities of such a superintelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is the point beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable to human intelligence.”
Ray Kurzweil, futurist, inventor and the Author of “Singularity is Near”, predicts singularity will occur around 2045
For more like this see The Peter Diamandis story – Limited time free movie at http://www.visioneermovie.com/free-viewing/
Search Today and Tomorrow
Building website that are optimised for search listing has in the past been an obsession with keywords. We have perfected the art of balancing keyword density, getting the perfect meta descriptions and link profiles. All are still valid but search engines far more intelligent today that they were a year ago and they will be far more intelligent tomorrow. Logic and machine learning based on troves of behavior metrics are gauging users experience, and evaluating every website accordingly. They measure site speed, mobile friendliness, site structure, content, relevance, authority and many other signals. Ultimately they are looking for websites that provide valid answers to travelers questions and concerns.
I cover this in my Book WEBSITE which is available on amazon, here are some more excerpts.
“Today you need to think about your website visitors at every stage of your web design and marketing process. It’s all about the users experience and we delve into that more in the next chapter. .To make your website appear in the Google search results, you have to know what your customers are typing into the search engine. Most might think of terms like “Family Holidays”, but search habits have become more semantic and people are now asking whole and complete sentences. The search term “Family Holidays” has evolved into a far more specific question, such as “what are the best holiday villas in the Caribbean for a family of four at under $250US per night”. Further down in the travel shopping cycle, they will be more specific and be looking for villa resorts in specific islands and areas. While search has become far more specific, you still have to cover the basic. If you answer these specific questions you will start to top the search engine rankings. So, ask yourself what your customers need help with and be sure to have those answers on your pages.”