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Google hosted an event titled AIstralian Stories. It was one of the most exciting yet entirely practical events to help media understand AI (Artificial intelligence) and ML (Machine learning).

Now I have a fair understanding of AI/ML, but I can’t begin to do to do this event justice. I strongly recommend you read Google’s blog from today.

What I hope to achieve is to explain the sense of wonder I felt sitting in the audience. I have paraphrased below what some speakers said. The use of the word Google below is for convenience and generally refers to Google’s AI systems.

Jason Pellegrino, Google’s Australian boss, set the scene.

It is all about AI. AI is the driver and is accelerating the incredible advances in technology. AI is being harnessed to help automate tasks that we don’t have the resources to do effectively. It is about harnessing the power of tech to solve apparently insurmountable problems.

He had several key points

  1. Your jobs will change drastically over the next 15 years. You may produce the same output. AI will underpin the tools you use and the skills you need.
  2. We need more human capital with the right skills to enable AI.
  3. Australia needs to speed up. At present only 8% of major companies are investing in AI compared to 20% in the US. We are part of the global economy and cannot afford to be left behind.

If we can capture the benefits of AI and ML, then it will determine our future prosperity.

Anil Sabharwal, Google Photos creator

AI is one of the most profound technology advancements and its happening in our lifetime. Applying AI

  • Makes goods and services more useful
  • Helps us to be more efficient and do much more
  • Can solve humanities the impossibly big challenges

AI is the science of making things smart. ML is about making machines that learn smarter without programming rules.

For example, we taught Google what a cat and dog are by showing it thousands of photos. It analysed these and set the attributes for a cat or a dog. But it advanced by drawing inferences. It can now recognise breeds and more.

We have bundled an AI that has learned a lot into Google Assistant. It will never stop learning from our human interaction. Soon it will be able to interact in a natural language.

Google provides open source TensorFlow AI language, Cloud AI via APIs and purpose-built ASIC Tensor processors to researchers and business to help solve problems.

AI is enormously processor heavy.

His first love is Google Photos, and he showed off a few things AI could do to improve images, share them and search them. While your grandfather may have had only a few cherished photos today, we have tens of thousands of significant moments. Being able to search them and share them is just the beginning.

Things like Google Lens will have improved recognition features, and real-time results are nearly there.