Ray Kurzweil joining Google

The noted artificial intelligence expert will become director of engineering

Well-known American inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil is joining Google.

The 64-year-old, whose work includes computer and machine intelligence, neuroscience and virtual reality, revealed the move on his blog on Friday.

Kurzweil said his work at Google would focus on new projects involving machine learning and language processing. The job begins on Monday, when Kurzweil will take the title director of engineering, he 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 wrote.

"In 1999, I said that in about a decade we would see technologies such as self-driving cars and mobile phones that could answer your questions, and people criticized these predictions as unrealistic. Fast forward a decade -- Google has demonstrated self-driving cars, and people are indeed asking questions of their Android phones. It's easy to shrug our collective shoulders as if these technologies have always been around, but we're really on a remarkable trajectory of quickening innovation, and Google is at the forefront of much of this development," he wrote.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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