Welcome to the transition? Google scientists believe it’s new AI-based Assistant will be the biggest thing since Google search. So what is behind the Google Assistant?

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Millions of times a day people all over the world type or speak data into Google search; and according to Fernando Pereia, a distinguished scientist at Google and former chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Google’s machines need to learn the text from data being inputted.

“Let me tell you a little bit about The Transition,” he says. As Pereira explains it, The Transition is a Brink’s Job-level bounty of data that his team and other scientists at Google will receive when millions of people start conversing with his company’s flagship bot, the Google Assistant. The Assistant is a single software system that will be implemented across multiple Google platforms, including the Pixel phone and the Google Home device. It strives to control the functions on the phone like Siri does, perform services as seamlessly as Amazon’s Alexa, and conduct Geisha-level chatter that puts to shame the business bot in Facebook’s Messenger.

Though Google already interprets voice commands in products like voice search in the Google app, the Assistant is different: Google sees it as the apotheosis of its efforts to answer questions and perform functions. The company sees the Assistant as an evolution of many products, including Search, Maps, Photos, and Google Now. Sample queries the company offers display the product’s intended breadth: Show me pictures of the beach. Play dance music on the TV. Tell me about my day. The Assistant is optimized to do much of its work via a verbal, person-machine interchange. After it gives an answer to Where’s the closest Italian restaurant? you can tell it to Navigate there, and you’ll get directions.

As good as the Google Assistant purports to be, Pereira knows its shortcomings. Most frustrating, the Assistant’s ability to understand and converse about complex queries is only at the beginning of the long path that Google envisions. It is all too easy to run into the wall where the Assistant simply doesn’t get what you’re saying. Pereira needs the Assistant to really, really understand what people say, in a way that reflects a mastery of the intricacies of communication with an overall grasp of the way the physical world works.

In other words, Google wants it’s machines to understand in-depth questions fully, and essentially allow the user to converse with their mobile device. Google’s bot, the assistant, is an algorithm based on computing called machine learning; more specifically, a form of artificial intelligence termed neural networks—self-organizing systems modeled on the way the brain works. The neural networks are designed to intake tons of data for analyzation.

“When you try to build a system for understanding natural language, and you don’t have many examples of the kind of understanding you want,” Pereira says, “then you have to prescribe, you have to write—essentially teach it grammar—so that it can do the understanding. That teaching is very laborious.”

Google, is attempting to build machines which understand the entirety of human language, but that’s not all. They are aspiring to understand in-depth human conversations, which would allow their computers to converse directly with the human user. This is an alarming step towards real-life robotics. And this is a direct assault on human interaction because Google doesn’t want you to communicate with your friends directly, it wants to communicate for you.


Google will soon house machines which could understand the meaning behind inputted data, meaning that Google could soon be making decisions for the user rather than the user making their own decisions.

Each time an individual uses Google, or another AI for that matter, the computers which power search engines, assistants, bots and so on; the artificial intelligence learns. Thus bringing mankind one step closer to the day when Artificial intelligence rules decisions, thought processes, and so much more.

Works Cited

Steven Levy. “Our Assisstant Will Trigger the Next Level of AI.” Backchannel. . (2016): . .