Day one of the four day SES conference is wrapping up although a lot of the conference action takes place at restaurants and bars after hours. I think for most people the highlight of SES is the huge Google Party which will be held tomorrow night at the Googleplex in Mountain View. “Meet the Engineers” is one of only a handful of times each year when you can talk directly to a large number of people on the Google search team – the other is WebmasterWorld’s “PubCon” in Las Vegas.
One thing I learned today is the Google’s Marissa Mayer is an expert in Artificial Intelligence (yikes – ValleyWag says Marissa IS an Artificial Intelligence!), and I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to ask a few questions tomorrow after her keynote about where she sees Google’s AI efforts heading over the next 5-10 years. Larry Page was recently quoted as suggesting that a human-like thinking “algorithm” could well be cracked fairly soon, and Google is one of the places where this type of innovation might actually take place. That said, based on my talk with Matt Cutts a few years back I don’t think AI as a search driver is a Google priority. I was surprised then to hear that Matt felt quality AI driven search was still many years away. Google has to maintain a practical edge to things so they probably can’t put a huge effort behind a “conscious computing” effort, though I get the idea from Kurzweil’s book that a Googley “massively parallel” info architecture may be more likely to bring consicousness to a machine than, for example, the IBM Blue Gene style supercomputer.
Session coverage roundup from Barry at Search Engine Land