By Bernard Marr
You already know that artificial intelligence is now the foundation of many of Google’s most popular (and useful) products and services.
But did you know that many of the most promising breakthroughs from Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., are also powered by AI?
Let’s take a look at how Alphabet is expanding its offerings with the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Discovering New Ideas in the AI Lab
In 2016, the London-based artificial intelligence laboratory Deepmind Technologies, which was acquired by Google in 2014, created an AI program that defeated a world champion GO player.
DeepMind uses something they call deep reinforcement learning that isn’t pre-programmed but instead learns from experience by interpreting data. As of 2020, DeepMind has published over a thousand scientific papers and has collaborated with Google to improve the efficiency of its cooling centers.
DeepMind is also working with healthcare organizations to find applications for their technology, like looking for early signs of blindness and improving breast cancer detection.
Hailing a Self-Driving Cab with Waymo
Thanks to Alphabet, you can hail a fully autonomous vehicle in the Metro Phoenix area using a simple app on your phone. The Waymo One service provides on-call, fully autonomous cars 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to residents and visitors of the Phoenix area.
Alphabet calls their AI software the World’s Most Experienced Driver™, and Waymo’s AI has driven over 20 billion miles so far to continue to refine their technology. With their Waymo Via initiative, Alphanet is also expanding their autonomous driver tech to commercial trucks.
Waymo’s mission is to make it easier and safer for people to get where they want to go, citing some hard-hitting traffic stats: there are over 36,000 road deaths every year in the United States, and 94% of those crashes involve human error. Waymo wants to reduce the loss of life by rolling out a nationwide fleet of autonomous cars in the future.
Your Groceries and Bandages, Delivered by Drone
Wing is an autonomous delivery drone service that uses AI to deliver small, lightweight packages to homes and businesses.
The goals of the Wing Aviation project are:
● Increasing worldwide access to goods like food, medicine, and household items
● Reducing traffic congestions
● Easing CO2 emissions from transportation of goods
Since they were created in 2012, Wing has conducted more than 100,000+ flights across three continents, and AI is at the core of their technology. When a customer places an order, Wing’s unmanned traffic management (UTM) software maps out a route for the drone that is designed to work around obstacles while meeting regulatory requirements. Then the software monitors the aircraft as it flies, to detect problems and develop contingency plans.
Wing is currently operating in 4 locations: Christiansburg, Virginia, in the United States, Helsinki in Finland, and Canberra and Logan in Australia. More locations will be added soon.
Alphabet’s Healthcare Ventures Help Us Feel Better and Live Longer
Meanwhile, other ventures under the Alphabet umbrella are conducting research, developing new medicines and tools, and revolutionizing the delivery of medical care.
Calico, Alphabet’s research and development biotechnology company, is focused on the biology that controls aging, and trying to develop interventions that allow us to live longer.
At the same time, Google and Verily are using machine learning to solve medical problems and provide better care for patients. For instance, Verily has developed an ML-enabled screening tool that can detect diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in adults. Their retinal diagnostic machines are already being used in Madurai, India.
Where to Go From Here
Want to learn more about how large and small companies are using artificial intelligence and big data to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems? Check out my other articles and books for more information.
For more on the topic of artificial intelligence, have a look at my book ‘The Intelligence Revolution: Transforming Your Business With AI’.