Google X, a Top Secret Lab

I’ve known that Google has a lot of secret projects up its sleeve, and this New York Times piece provides some further guidance:

It’s a place where your refrigerator could be connected to the Internet, so it could order groceries when they ran low. Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot could go to the office while you stay home in your pajamas. And you could, perhaps, take an elevator to outer space.

These are just a few of the dreams being chased at Google X, the clandestine lab where Google is tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas. In interviews, a dozen people discussed the list; some work at the lab or elsewhere at Google, and some have been briefed on the project. But none would speak for attribution because Google is so secretive about the effort that many employees do not even know the lab exists.

The driverless cars are a number of years away from formal introduction into the marketplace…But until then, this sounds like a bad idea:

Google could sell navigation or information technology for the cars, and theoretically could show location-based ads to passengers as they zoom by local businesses while playing Angry Birds in the driver’s seat.

Apparently, Google X operates both at Google’s campus in Mountain View, CA and in an undisclosed top-secret location. Hmm.

So who’s involved with Google X?

A leader at Google X is Sebastian Thrun, one of the world’s top robotics and artificial intelligence experts, who teaches computer science at Stanford and invented the world’s first driverless car. Also at the lab is Andrew Ng, another Stanford professor, who specializes in applying neuroscience to artificial intelligence to teach robots and machines to operate like people.

I received an email from Thrun over the weekend, regarding my progress in the online Artificial Intelligence course. Unfortunately, I ended up pursuing other interests in the last couple of weeks and had to drop the course. It was excellent from the three weeks in which I actively participated in it, however.

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