Google CEO stresses potential of artificial intelligence in Seoul visit

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai says user benefits should lead the direction for the future of artificial intelligence during his trip to Seoul.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (DECEMBER 15, 2015) (REUTERS) – Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai on Tuesday (December 15) discusses potential of artificial intelligence during his visit to Seoul.

Google, which is based in Mountain View, California, has been building up its artificial intelligence capabilities as it strives to maintain its dominance in the Internet search market and to develop new products such as robotics and self-driving cars.

“The rate we see it progressing is incredible, and to me I expect AI (Artificial Intelligence) over time to really help across many many things if we talk about something like personalized healthcare, being able to understand large amounts of data, understand patterns and then make sense of it. I think that is huge. Most of (the) software we write today at Google, everything, these are hand-coded systems, it’s engineers thinking about what the logic is. Over time, these could be lone systems, which automatically writes itself. So, these are very very powerful things and all of us are excited by it, but we have to do it thoughtfully and you know, I think we have to lead with the user benefits. It’s such a journey I am excited about it. (Google Executive Chairman) Eric (Schmidt) and I talk about it all the time,” said Pichai at Google’s centre for start-up companies in Seoul.

Last year, Google acquired artificial intelligence company Deep Mind for $400 million, according to media reports.

Google also said in October this year that it will take a minority stake in Beijing-based artificial intelligence firm Mobvoi as part of a $75 million fundraising round, as the U.S. search engine giant tries to rebuild its presence in China.

Mobvoi works on artificial intelligence (AI) voice-controlled software, like that used in Google’s Android products for mobile search, and also develops hardware like smart watches. Google’s parent company is now named Alphabet Inc .

During the Seoul event on Tuesday, Pichai said those seeking to start up companies in Silicon Valley should not be disappointed by failure.

“You know, I think coming from the Valley, we always think that we actually, you know, going and working on a start-up or something, is never considered that much of a risky thing to do. You know I think you inevitably, when you are a founder and, when you are building something, even if you don’t achieve your goal, you know, the journey, you end up learning something, meeting new people. It’s step towards the right direction,” he said, speaking to about 200 participants including entrepreneurs, software developers and students.

The South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance announced in October that the government increased its subsidies for start-up businesses by 12.5 percent, to 1.8 trillion won ($ 1,521 million) in 2016.