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It's happening: Google's AI is building more AIs

We've reached AI inception, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai still wants to "go deeper."

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Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read
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Google.ai will see AI benefit every Google product under the sun.

James Martin/CNET

Put away your machine learning degrees -- artificial intelligence is now at the stage where it's ready to replicate and improve on itself, according to Google .

Googlers have designed AIs that are capable of "learning to learn," said CEO Sundar Pichai, speaking Wednesday at Google I/O , the company's annual developer's conference in Mountain View, California.

"We are excited about designing better machine learning models, but these days it is really painstaking," said Pichai. Instead of relying on human labor to design new models, Google is now delegating the responsibility to machine learning models it already built.

His staff often joke to him that they've reached "AI inception", he said. "I tell them, 'we must go deeper'."

This is all part of a project called Google.ai, which will see gains in artificial intelligence benefit every single product across the Google portfolio. The most important of these, said Pichai, are Google Search and Google Assistant, as well as how the two will work together.

"We are evolving Google Search to be more assistive to our users," he said. This means we can expect to see better integration between the voice assistant's intelligence and search, as well as a blurring of the boundaries between the two.

It will also be used to create tools for health care and to assist in pathology, such as improving breast cancer diagnosis, which still currently results in high levels of disagreement between experts.

Chemistry will benefit too, Pichai added. The job of predicting the properties of new molecules, which is essential in drug discovery, takes "an enormous amount of time" right now, he said. "One day, AI will invent new molecules that will behave in predefined ways."

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