In this age, every tech company is an AI company, however, none of them can be compared to Google in that area. In order to affirm this point before its I/O conference, the company has rebranded its Google Research division as Google AI, depicting the centrality of artificial intelligence to the company’s future.
The company made an announcement in a blog post stating that the rebrand was to “better reflect [its] commitment” to incorporate AI into its various services. It came after an organizational reshuffle last month which saw to splitting up AI product development from Google’s search efforts, and the new division was to be headed by veteran Googler Jeff Dean. A newly-revamped homepage for Google AI also emphasizes more than just the consumer products of the company, but also the highlighting of recently-published research in topics like health and astronomy and open-source tools used by the AI community worldwide like the machine learning framework called Tensor Flow. It is also important to note that non-AI research will still be done under in the new “Google AI” division.
This focus on research and community works in slight contrast with Microsoft, which has also been pushing its AI credentials this week at its Build conference. Although, the case of Microsoft, the idea has been more about AI ethics and morality as the company is launching a new $25 million AI for Accessibility fund to develop the tech for people with disabilities. Google does plenty of work in the field of AI ethics as well, but then again, it is interesting to see these two tech giants trying to differentiate their perspectives on the same subject.
In the previous month, Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin in a letter warned of the threats posed by AI and they include: job destruction, biased algorithms, and misinformation. He also referred to AI as “the most significant development in computing in my lifetime.” Google’s rebranding of its research division drives that point home.