The Great A.I. Awakening

Article The Great A.I. Awakening

How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services – and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.




Writing for The New York Times Magazine, Gideon Lewis-Kraus’s article breaks down a complex, multilayered story of artificial intelligence into an absorbing, detailed read. The story of Google Translate involves many prestigious players, who all worked together to create an impressively improved translation tool in far less time than originally expected. This is a tale of the meeting of many minds to create a single truly powerful artificial one that will have future uses beyond translating from one language to another.


Artificial intelligence (AI) researchers are working toward developing general AI that doesn’t require explicit instructions. Many current applications depend on humans to teach them rigid rules and definitions. This approach takes time and doesn’t take full advantage of a machine that could incorporate information from various sources to meet users’ needs proactively. It also isn’t ideal for translations, because many aspects of language can’t be compressed into clear-cut rules and even straightforward grammatical rules always don’t apply universally. There are always exceptions.

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About the Author

Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, writing on topics including technology and travel.

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