Google is the first mainstream company with a transhumanist culture and is the single most innovative company in Silicon Valley.
Recently, while visiting the Google Venice Headquarters in Los Angeles, I couldn’t help but think that Google is one of the few companies in the world with revenues of well over 50 billion dollars and over a 300 billion dollar market cap. But it still retains its startup feel.
The biggest innovations over the last century have come from moonshot ideas. The last company in Silicon Valley that is still operating like a large startup and taking moonshots, the only company that still matters in Silicon Valley is Google. No, I do not have a single penny in Google stock, nor is this a promotion of Google in any way. Rather, this is my review of why Google is the most successful company in Silicon Valley and the most likely company to get us to the Singularity.
If you’re a transhumanist, you would be well served by working at Google. Ever since Larry Page came back as CEO to Google, Google is bubbling with a lot of new ideas. Larry Page was the first backer of Singularity University as you all know and a big fan of Ray Kurzweil’s ideas. Google is probably one of the biggest AI companies in the world and has the largest data base, with machine intelligence being their core business. Thus, any investment in this area makes total sense.
However, in the last decade what Google has done is immensely fascinating. Google has embarked on a series of moonshot ideas that are all based on the 10^9 mantra.
Google wanted to connect over a billion people with smart devices in a decade; Since Android has been created in 2005, Google has connected over a billion Android handsets globally and aims to connect the next 5 billion over the next decade.
Google wants to give us all augmented reality; Google has made Ray Kurzweil’s predictions come true with the Google Glass and I believe that this will be a huge success for them. In fact, I was in India on TV in front of millions of viewers discussing Google glass technology recently.
Google has very big ambitions which would touch almost every aspect of our lives daily and all these products they have been developing are all part of a far bigger plan for Google.
For instance, to give you an idea of Google’s scale, think about this: they have Google Wallet for payments, Google search, Google chrome with AI and language translations, Google Maps, YouTube (which encompasses most of the world’s entertainment), the largest Ad system for blogs, and deep machine intelligence with Google Now. Moreover, think about all the investments they’ve made recently to improve humanity.
Google has invested through Google X over 1 billion dollars in renewable energy, including over 280 million into Solarcity. Google has invested over 200 million into Uber to connect car sharing. I noted that when I visited India recently, Uber is one of the cheapest forms of transportation and provides comfort and luxury with cars like Mercedes or Audi for almost half the price compared to that of a conventional local “call taxi” and allows you to enjoy a very dependable service.
Google also backed Tesla, which manufactures one of the best electric cars in USA. I believe that all these investments and projects are all part of a grander plan for Larry Page and Google. One can postulate that Uber and Google may have a long-term plan to use the Uber Technologies and Tesla’s electric cars, along with Solarcity’s free superchargers, to have self-driving, completely free solar-powered autonomous cars. I mean they literally are investing into converging all these technologies to make science fiction into reality.
Moreover, Larry Page and Ray Kurzweil have worked together to plot out a trend in which they predict that in 16 years, solar energy will power all of human needs. Larry Page has invested money to make this prediction a reality. Why else would he invest over 280 million dollars into Solarcity to provide solar power to businesses and residences and sell power at a lower rate than a typical utility rate?
Google has recently hired Ray Kurzweil, our leading figure of the Singularity, to make Google the leader of the transhumanist movement. Google will make human level AI possible along with conversational AI assistants in less than a decade with the help and leadership of Kurzweil and all the AI experts they’ve recruited.
What’s even more fascinating is the fact that Google isn’t making the Singularity happen in half measures; they are going all into this. In fact, Google recently acquired Boston Dynamics, which is a DARPA partner in making walking robotic four legged beasts and humanoids to handle disaster zones and support the military. Now imagine deep AI, pattern recognition and all the deep AI and vision recognition put into a robot connected to the cloud and can be autonomous or controlled via a Google device or BCI! I bet that’s Google’s plan.
It appears that more ambitious the idea, the more interested Larry Page seems to be. Take Calico for instance which operates independently in its pursuit to cure aging. This is as ambitious as Aubrey De Grey’s projects at SENS to cure aging and treat all aging as a disease.
Therefore, we are living in the most exciting decade of this century. One in which Google is strongly positioned to lead. Google is the largest data company and by far the largest advertising company; soon they will rule the AI race, have self-driving Uber cars, free solar power for all and humanoids that do all our work. Perhaps we will soon be able to upload our consciousness to the Google Cloud once Ray Kurzweil’s roadmap plays out. Either way, I am certain that Google wants to lead this race.
I mean, why else would a company start installing Gigabit internet (by Google Fiber) to homes and business when no one else will? Why else would they think about balloons to give 5 billion people free WiFi? Google definitely is one of the few companies entrepreneurs should admire and strive to build companies like. The most important goal for the 21st century is making the Technological Singularity a reality and only Google seems to be thinking about making this happen.
We know that if we connect the next billion people and grow commerce we can use our influence to invest into more 10^9 projects and solve grand challenges to large scale problems like poverty, and develop deep AI to catalyze the Singularity. That’s the ambition with which entrepreneurs should start new businesses; all my fellow startups please take note and early on make sure your startups DNA is solving a 10^9 problem, as Vinod Khosla, the legendary investor says if it doesn’t scale it doesn’t matter.
Always remember why you’re building a company or a core product. Remember, real long term value is based on scaling, and this vision has to be in the DNA of the company early on. If you set the ambitions high enough to contribute to solving a bigger problem or a lofty goal of making the singularity happen or a part of it, don’t worry, Google will acquire you and help you scale. But always set the bar high, the only failure you can have is not dreaming big enough and for sure no one can accuse Larry Page for not dreaming big dreams or acting on them. Look where it got Google and himself? Not too shabby for a startup only 16 years old.
Nitish Kannan is the CEO/Founder of www.circlepluspayments.com, an entrepreneur with a 10^9 idea, building a service to help the next billion people with smartphones to accept a credit or debit card. Nitish says Google is inspiring and gives his startup a purpose to scale.