There's nothing we like better than the words "secret lab." So when we learned the secret lab is at Google — tasked with coming up with 100 big ideas that could radically change the way we live — we got positively giddy.
Images of the Six Million Dollar Man, the Bat Cave and M's gadget lab from the Bond movies all come to mind. It turns out that the things dreamt of in those fantasy labs may not be too far from reality with the "Google X" project.
So secret that many Google employees don't even know of its existence, the project is located in a lab at a non-disclosed location. Its staff — from such prestigious institutions as MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford, Nokia Labs, Microsoft and more are charged with thinking beyond developing simple apps or gadgets, but rather what is next for the future of computing and how humans can integrate digital technology deeper into our lives.
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While the exact nature of the work is as locked up as tight as the CIA, some clues can be gleaned from what Google and its founders have shared, or let slip in public. Although described as being only in the conceptual phase, they've discussed things such as space elevators, hotly debated as either a genius or foolish way of hauling items into space. That's how big the secret Google-led collective is willing to go.
There is also the idea of "a web of things" which involves looking for ways to connecting objects to the Internet so humans can access and use them from afar. Or, objects could share information on their activities without having to use their computers. Imagine being able to water your houseplants while on vacation in Istanbul — or have your refrigerator your grocery list for you and push it to your smartphone.
Robots are in the mix, too, with talks of giving them the artificial intelligence to perform the mundane tasks humans would rather avoid. Given that Google already uses a form of artificial intelligence to drive its powerful search engine, it seems a viable avenue. And, of course, there's Google's famous driverless cars.
While only a small part of the Google business is dedicated to Google X, there are big minds behind it. One of Google's founders, Sergey Brin, is said to be involved and committed to the idea of thinking for the future. Other leaders include Stanford's Sebastian Thun, a robotics and AI expert who helped develop the driverless car. There's also Johnny Chung Lee, a specialist in the human-computer connection who hailed from the Microsoft Kinect Project. The list goes on.
There is a saying "that to win big, you have to risk big." Google is setting itself up to do just that. If even a few of the big ideas come to fruition they could make fundamental shifts in our daily lives, and ensure Google is in the center of it. Just like, you know, Google's search engine.
Via New York Times