Larry Page shared plans for the future

Original author: Marcus Wohlsen
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Google is committed to making money — big, very big bucks. However, CEO Larry Page does not like to talk much about this part of the colossal search engine, which he co-founded 15 years ago, at least in public. Instead, Page prefers to reflect on how the resources of the third largest company in the world can help realize his optimistic vision of a technogenic future.

Last week, in an interview with the famous TV presenter Charlie Rose at the TED conference, Page outlined a version of the plan for the coming decades, which could well become everyday reality for everyone if the company's previous successes mean something.

A forty-year-old billionaire who suffers from a chronic illness affecting his voice rarely speaks in public. Throughout the 25-minute interview, his voice sounded soft, but confident as he shared his views on Google's many-sided future. Most of what Page was talking about was listing projects that Google is currently working on. But when the CEO linked them together, they all had the impression that the company truly embodies his idealistic vision of the future. This is a vision that includes everything from widespread artificial intelligence to self-driving cars and high-altitude balloons, which will provide the most remote corners of the planet with Internet access.

New search

But it all starts with a search - the things Google does best. And yet, despite the successes in structuring the network, Page says the use of computers is still "inefficient." “There is chaos in working with computers,” he says. “Your computer does not know where you are. He does not know what you are doing. He does not know what you know. ”To change this, an improved search is needed.

In response to this, Google, led by Page, is developing tools such as Google Now, which tries to predict what you need before asking. “Google Glass” is a wearable headset that displays information on the display, which is also designed to solve the problem of outputting digital data directly over those things that people see in reality.

And although Page did not say this explicitly, these efforts also represent Google’s attempt to curb the driving force that eludes desktop search and direct it to other products that the company can use as platforms for its advertising business.

Balloons and cars

At the heart of Google’s search improvement efforts is artificial intelligence. Page describes setting up a machine comprehension algorithm for a computer to watch a huge number of videos on YouTube and “learn” it without any prior knowledge. It was not so important for people to know that the name of this process is “cat,” but how to create a composite image for this. He showed videos of such self-learning machines tuned to the old Atari RiverRaid and Enduro video games, although they were not programmed to know the rules, but over time mastered them perfectly.

Page then moved from the search field to the physical world, describing Google’s high goal of creating a “worldwide cell” for connecting to the Internet using huge balloons as a wireless access point. Rose also asked Page about his passion for transport systems, and he replied that the starting point for this project was his waiting for a bus under the snow in his alma mater, University of Michigan. Page hopes that one day the Google self-driving car project will transform many cities in the world.

He believes that the systematization of transport will make it possible to use the space of cities for something more useful than for parking and roads. “It's just crazy how we use our free space,” he says.

Betting on a business for a better future

Rose took up the theme of implementing Page's plans through Google: the belief that business is the best way to translate his version of a better future. Rose asked Page about the opinion that he had previously voiced that he would rather give all his property to Ilon Mask than to chance. Page agreed, calling the idea of ​​Mask to send people to Mars "to maintain the life of mankind", a worthy goal. “This is a company, and it is a charity,” he says.

However, Page had words that sounded sharply even with his soft voice. They concerned companies that do not strive for the same high goals as Elon Musk or Google. “Most people think that companies, by and large, are evil. They have a bad reputation. And I think there is some truth to this, ”says Page. “The activities of companies are focused on the same half measures as 50 and 20 years ago. We need very different things. This is especially true for technology - we need revolutionary changes. ”

Of course, it’s easy to say that when your company sells its shares for $ 1,200 apiece, and when you earn tens of billions a year, thanks to your main advertising business. But Page certainly seems to be the kind of person for whom this ad is only a means to an end, and that end is not self-enrichment. Page wants to create a future in which we all will ultimately live.

The article has been translated specifically for the corporate blog - a service for monitoring the health of sites.

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