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Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil joins Google

The man who predicted phones that answer your questions and driverless cars will start at Google on Monday.

Futurist, entrepreneur, inventor, author, and all-round tech evangelist Raymond Kurzweil has joined Google, TechCrunch reports.

He'll start on Monday as director of engineering, focusing on machine learning and language processing. It'll be a full-time position, Kurzweil confirmed to TechCrunch. He made the announcement on his website.

Kurzweil is well-known for forecasting technological advances, as well as his involvement in the futurist and transhumanist movements. He's also not shy of pinning down his predictions to exact dates. By 2050, for example, he predicts medical advances will mean we can extend our lives using nanobots. Google Extended Life, anyone?

He also predicted such technologies as driverless cars and mobiles that answer your questions, both advances that Google has been at the forefront of -- so it sounds like he and the big G have a lot in common.

Kurzweil confirmed to TechCrunch that he'll be working at Google's Mountain View HQ. "The focus of the position is on new technology development, however I will be continuing my role as a thought leader through lectures, speaking with the press, and such initiatives as my recent book," he said in an email.

In the announcement on his website, Kurzweil wrote: "I've been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music, and later went on to invent the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, among other inventions. I've always worked to create practical systems that will make a difference in people's lives, which is what excites me as an inventor."

He went on to say Google was at the forefront of a "remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation," and that he was "thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade's 'unrealistic' visions into reality."

What would you like to see from Kurzweil and Google? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Michael Lutch at Wikipedia