Skynet is coming: Google uses "virtual brain" to improve voice recognition

Skynet is coming: Google uses
Google is ready to make put its artificial intelligence platform, its "virtual brain" technology, to better use soon. The technology has already taught itself to recognize human faces and cat faces, and is now gearing up to take on the difficult task of speech recognition and more. Google's "virtual brain" gets its name because it is based on the idea of a neural network in the human brain. In that respect, it each piece of the "virtual brain" can interact and influence each other in order to build a self-teaching system. 

The tech has already been put to work "watching" thousands of YouTube videos, and from those videos it has been able to build the ideal "average patterns" that are used to detect human faces and cat faces in photos in Picasa and Google+ (the examples of which are found below). Who said those cat videos were worthless?

Skynet is coming: Google uses "virtual brain" to improve voice recognition
Skynet is coming: Google uses "virtual brain" to improve voice recognition


The technology has also started getting folded into other Google products. Apparently, the tech has been put into the speech recognition system in Android, and according to Vincent Vanhoucke, one of the heads of Google's speech recognition system, the technology has already improved the accuracy of speech recognition by 20-25%. Android 4+ users may have noticed the tech at work with the real time dictation feature. Any time you see a word pop up then correct itself based on context, that's the Google brain at work. The neural network is only working in US English right now, but should move to different languages eventually.

The technology is likely going to be pushed into the self-driving car soon enough, and has potential to make searching by image better and much more. Essentially, the neural network could make all Google products better in one way or another, because the technology excels at learning context and adjusting for behavior. This means that if you use voice actions to search for "Oklahoma City Thunder", but the last word is garbled, the system will check with your pooled Google data and understand that you likely said "Thunder" because of search history, etc. From the sound of it, this technology either already is, or will soon be a huge part of the intelligent push system that makes Google Now such an interesting platform. This technology appears to be the magic sauce that allows Google to find some amazing links in context from the huge amounts of data the company has on its users' habits, searches, interests, and location. 

And, that's the most amazing part of this technology: the more data it is given, the more context it can find, and the better it can learn to find more relevant information and context. Using pattern recognition and sound recognition, the neural network could get closer to understanding context and information surrounding a central target, like scanning the background of an image to learn where a photo was taken by using existing similar images and geotag data. Of course, Google is quick to point out that this is really still just the first step towards a true artificial intelligence.

Although Google's neural network technology is smaller than a human brain, can beat humans at certain tasks, and can teach itself and get more efficient at learning, it still can't reason, which is essential for intelligence. So, the neural network can find specific visual data faster than humans can, and it can match shapes and patterns, and ultimately do jobs that would be incredibly tedious and boring for humans. But, it can't draw from the outside world and reason out the why or how of a thing. 

Why and how are the most powerful of all questions, and both the asking and drive to answer those questions are the true mark of intelligence. Google's brain can't do that yet. But, the question still stands: when the day does come that Google or some other company creates a true artificial intelligence, will you be there with pitchforks and torches, or with an offering of peace for our new Cylon overlords?

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33 Comments

1. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

True innovation. It may save or (more likely) destroy mankind. Either way, Im excited.

7. sheik

Posts: 249; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

You are excited in destruction of mankind?? lol

9. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

id rather die by the hand of a machine than by a zombie apocalypse.... at least machines can build things after they are done with us.... zombies... not much

24. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Cause of death: Killed by a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 (T101) or Arnold

25. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

Or killed by a green ANDROID :P

27. NotaFanBoy

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

I'd rather go out with guns blazing against the zombies since we wouldn't be here to see the machines build things. Head shots anyone?

28. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

we can also fight machines with EMP.... plus if you get injured by a machine you wont turn into one :/ plus you ain't some movie hero... unlike machines where you get killed and there is one less human when you get bitten we have one more zombie

33. ageffner

Posts: 18; Member since: Jan 27, 2009

".. plus if you get injured by a machine you wont turn into one :" 1 word for you.... "CyberMen" (Doctor Who).

34. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Cybermen are Cyborgs, not robots

11. plgladio

Posts: 314; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I agree downphoenix, we damaged more. humans are viruses to earth.

14. sheik

Posts: 249; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

What, we just progressed from Monkeys eating apple to Humans using Apple. Its evolution. Not damage. There may be some undesirable side effects during our advancements. But the improvement is worth the hassle.

31. ncv144

Posts: 126; Member since: May 04, 2012

+1 for the lol

20. hariprasath.j unregistered

I am excited. This is the only page in Phone arena without any comments bashing Apple.. atleast until now. :)

12. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

My mom said not to look at the picture of the eyeless dude cause she thinks it's "scary" What a baby she is (whispering voice)

15. messiah

Posts: 438; Member since: Feb 19, 2010

It can't reason....... yet

17. whysoserious

Posts: 318; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

And the best part is that you will never see the word "patent" in this news unlike some rotten iCompany that I know of. Good guy Google.

2. Aeires unregistered

Depends on what Asimov's they put in place.

3. MeoCao unregistered

It's amazing, amazing Google

4. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

21. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

gajelas lu ! your comment is not relevant with the article

5. VJo003

Posts: 365; Member since: Mar 11, 2012

Now if only the real John Connor would plz stand up !!!

23. Kostas_13

Posts: 43; Member since: Sep 07, 2012

Dont worry! We will spot him when the Googlenator comes from the future to kill him! LoL

6. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Pitchforks and torches from me Mike. Although ICS speech recognization is nothing short of awesome. My Droid X has even been improving.

8. Yummy

Posts: 117; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

oh snap!!

10. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

now all I have to do is swap my brain into a machine and live among them :) also Michael this thing is obviously ready... cat videos are a serious business

18. DaNTRoN

Posts: 135; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

I've believed this for a while now, sign me up

13. Ragnarockd

Posts: 47; Member since: Aug 27, 2012

I just told my sgs3 "hasta la vista baby" through the s-voice and it replied " i hope so". Now im thinking if it may start giving me a different reply when the brain comes out.

16. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

SGS3 and S Voice are powered by Vlingo speech recognition, not Google, so you're not going to get the benefits unless you replace S Voice with Google Voice Actions.

19. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Of course, when I tried to say "hasta la vista baby" to Google Now, it came up as "I love still love you baby" Maybe it would work better with more context, like saying "terminator 2 hasta la vista" or "Arnold Schwarzenegger hasta la vista"...

22. ilia1986 unregistered

I'd rather be assimilated by Google, than enslaved by Apple. :D

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