This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Google's Singular Silence on Kurzweil

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has joined Google (GOOG) as director of engineering this week.

Kurzweil made the announcement himself last Friday on his Web site, noting he'll be working on the biggest problems in computing and pointing particularly to artificial intelligence.

Our Dana Blankenhorn noted the move Monday in his article We're All Futurists Now, correctly pointing out that innovation has to sync with market appetite or it fails to be adopted. He concludes that with Internet information at our fingertips, nobody out there has any more advantage to see around that particular corner -- the intersection of innovation and market potential -- than anyone else.

Google's only comment on the hire that I know of comes in the form of a short note to the MIT Technology Review:

Ray's contributions to science and technology, through research in character and speech recognition and machine learning, have led to technological achievements that have had an enormous impact on society -- such as the Kurzweil Reading Machine, used by Stevie Wonder and others to have print read aloud. We appreciate his ambitious, long-term thinking, and we think his approach to problem-solving will be incredibly valuable to projects we're working on at Google.

A week after Kurzweil's posting, and four days after he began full-time work at the company, no other press release or official comment has emerged.

Kurzweil is famous for many things, including his work in character and speech recognition. His name was also firmly attached to the first digital musical instruments capable of modeling grand piano sounds with life-like accuracy.

Importantly, he has also been highly visible in support of the notion of a coming "singularity," a moment when computer thinking will exceed human thinking. Mere humans can't predict technological innovation beyond that transition since it would proceed at incomprehensible speeds and with incomprehensible logic and precision.

This is the point at which machines take over, an event horizon beyond which our future is completely dark to us.

In 2005, Kurzweil outlined this idea in his book, The Singularity Is Near which gained popular attention (and won him an appearance on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show). He also co-founded Singularity University with the goal of leveraging "exponentially growing technologies to solve humanity's grand challenges."

Why would Google be mum on such a high-profile hire?

There are a few good reasons, but I think they all boil down to one: The company wants to avoid misguided or inflated expectations and media chatter speculating about any coming potentially disruptive technology. No matter what, it wants to avoid looking foolish.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,086.63 -26.91 -0.16%
S&P 500 1,987.01 +3.48 0.18%
NASDAQ 4,473.6970 +17.6810 0.40%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs