"Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization," Hawking said at the Web Summit technology conference in November.
Monday, Alphabet Chairman and billionaire Eric Schmidt highlighted another area of potential for artificial intelligence, this one significantly less terrifying: making really good, innovative chocolate chip cookies. And that, he says, is awesome.
"Over the past year, a small research team at Google has been experimenting with a new technology for experimental design. To demonstrate what this technology could do, our team came up with a real-world challenge: designing the best possible chocolate chip cookies using a given set of ingredients," says senior staff engineer Daniel Golovin in a blog post about the experiment.
To come up with the perfect chocolate chip cookie, Google engineers established the inputs: chocolate, flour, vanilla etc. Google employees would test a recipe, give it a numerical rating and then the system would recalibrate the recipe based on the feedback.
"We did this dozens of times—baking, rating, and feeding it back in for a new recipe—and pretty soon the system got much better at creating tasty recipes," writes Golovin.
Once the Google engineers had an AI perfected baseline cookie, they teamed up with Jeanette Harris of the Gluten Free Goat Bakery & Cafe. They added a couple of wildcard ingredients to the mix — cardamom and szechuan pepper — to see what their AI cookie-baking system would do. And the final product had to be gluten free.