Google launches a massive open AI division

The search giant is opening its neural network to everyone.


Today at Google's I/O developer conference, CEO Sundar Pichai greeted the assembled press and attendees with news that the company will be focusing heavily on AI both for its services and research. The new site and division will focus on artificial intelligence, deep learning and building the tools to make that work possible.

To help accelerate AI research, Pichai announced that the Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) it uses to train machine learning models are available in the Google Cloud Platform for anyone to use via the Google Compute Engine today. "We want it to be possible for hundreds of thousands of developers to use machine learning," Pichai said.

The CEO also announced that Google will be using the neural nets it creates to build other neural nets with AutoML. Pichai actually joked that this is like the movie Inception. The system takes a set of candidate neural nets (Pichai called them baby neural nets) and iterates them using a reinforcement-training approach until the best one is found. The CEO said the results are promising. So Skynet isn't happening just yet.

All this work will be used not only in Google's own products but also to help medical researchers. Pichai talked about using AI to help sequence DNA and help pathologists locate things like the spread of cancer. It's not completely perfect: "There are important caveats, we do have higher false positives," Pichai said. "But already getting this into the hands of pathologists, they can improve diagnosis."

Google announced that it's already partnering with health care providers to put the technology into action to help improve care and prevent medical incidents.

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