Google's Sundar Pichai Says "We're at a Tipping Point" for A.I.

Cloud computing is the next big business for the company. 

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Between everyday artificial intelligence like Siri on the Apple iPhone to larger undertakings, like Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo program taking on the grand champion of the ancient game Go, artificial intelligence is slowly taking over our culture.

During a Tuesday call, investors for Alphabet, the parent company of Google, made some bold predictions about the future of A.I.

“I think in the long-run we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an A.I.-first world,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the call. “I think we are at the forefront of that movement so we don’t view it as adapting to it as much as we do pushing hard to get there.”

In order to get to that future, the company says it’s been investing in cloud infrastructure for years so it can both service this A.I. tech to consumers as well as start renting server space to other companies.

When you stream a movie on Netflix or want to listen to music on Spotify, that data doesn’t come strictly from those companies. That media is being stored on servers hosted by Amazon and Microsoft and they’re making a lot of money doing it — Google has signaled it wants in on that action and thinks its A.I. technology gives it an advantage in that area.

Diane Greene is senior vice president of Google's enterprise business.

“We’ve always been doing cloud, it’s just that we’ve been consuming it all internally at Google,” Pichai said during the call. “But as we’ve grown — really matured in how we handle our data center investments and how we can do this at scale — we’ve definitely crossed over to the other side to where we can thoughtfully serve external customers.”

Pichai noted the hire of Dianne Greene to head the company’s cloud efforts as a big step to making this infrastructure a possibility and it could be the next big money maker for Google. But what that means for consumers is that there’s going to be a heck of a lot more artificial intelligence talking to you through your mobile device and less ads.

“We’ve been investing in machine learning and AI for years, but I think we’re at an exceptionally interesting tipping point where these technologies are really taking off,” he said. “That is very, very applicable to businesses as well. So thoughtfully doing that externally we view as a big differentiator we have over others.”

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