Former Google exec and Android co-founder Andy Rubin has announced his latest designs for the tech industry - and his plans to take over what he considers the most important technological frontier of the decade: artificial intelligence.
Rubin laid out his latest tech endeavor, in an exclusive with Wired: a mission to more or less monopolize the artificial intelligence (AI) pocket of the market. While Rubin's newest tech incubator Playground Global is the tech mogul's gateway toward this endgame, it appears that the godfather of Android is only willing to concretely reveal one facet of his vision: a plan to create a visual traffic map with help from a free device and an unusual business model.
The big reveal came in the form of Playground's dashcam hardware, accompanied by an unprecedented plan for the cam's data. According to Rubin, the device would be given away to customers with one caveat: unhindered company access to each dash cam's data set.
While Rubin did not explicitly give a step-by-step explanation for the atypical proposal, it seems as if the composite data from each dash cam would be used to piece together a real-time, large-scale visual map which would aid drivers in avoiding commuter pitfalls like congestion.
So what else exactly does Playground and its founder have in store for the industry? While Rubin - a tech veteran who began his career at the Apple-owned handheld communications company General Magic, followed by a tenure at Google with stints as the creator of Danger Inc. and Android - has provided info on a need-to-know basis, his other Playground-related projects are currently shrouded in mystery. The reason? As Rubin himself put it, he's currently just "not willing to talk about" them.
What is Playground's mission, especially in regards to a) Rubin's lock-and-key approach to Playground product details, and b) AI as we know it?
In an official statement issued by the Playground founder on Feb. 5, Rubin extrapolated upon what the next shift in the "dominant computing platform," which he noted occurs roughly every 10 to 15 years, and what exactly the next progressive stage will be. After charting the watershed innovations of the recent past - "mainframes to minicomputers to PCs," followed by the Internet and the "mobile era," the tech entrepreneur and programmer deduced that the next wave will be a device-operating cloud with "mature deep-learning capabilites," which Playground intends to delve into and develop further.
"Getting the rest of the way there will require hundreds of millions of data points - more data than humans at keyboards can possibly provide," Rubin continued. "The various devices you interact with daily will free the cloud from it's [sic] proverbial 'brain in a jar' jail and allow it to interact with us in our environment - our homes, cars, and offices. And it will give those devices, in turn, more purpose."
Of course, as the Wired profile also indicated, exactly what kind of hardware - devices, bots, or otherwise - is still more or less an abstract to the public, despite Rubin's promises of revolutionary vagaries. Despite this, the CEO underscored a pioneering spirit.
"We're aiming big and thinking decades into the future," the CEO concluded in his company's blog post. "In the meantime, we're going to make some truly great things."