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One of the world's leading artificial intelligence experts has predicted that in 15 years’ time computers will outsmart humans and even be able to tell stories and crack jokes.

Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil has said machines will outsmart their makers by 2029, and if anyone knows... it's him.

Kurzweil is currently working on a project with Google which will allow computers to fully understand language and learn from experience, meaning flirting, 

The prediction comes at the same time Google assembles the largest artificial intelligence laboratory on Earth and is heavily rumoured to be using this old massive NASA hangar for the job. 

Kurzweil has a pedigree in the prediction business. The 66-year-old said in 1990 that a computer would be capable of beating a chess champion by 1998, and this was achieved by IBM's Deep Blue, against Garry Kasparov, in 1997.

And when the Internet was still a tiny system used only by a small collection of academics, Kurzweil anticipated it would soon make it possible to link up the whole world.

Google has been making big strides in the AI sphere, having recently acquired Boston Dynamics, an advanced military robot company, as well as British start-up DeepMind, which specialises in machine learning.

Boston Dynamics has made many prototypes of the military, including the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), a robotic mule for the US Marines.

Kurzweil however said his goal, rather than anything to do with military robots, was to work on programs that allow computers to understand what humans are saying, which "represents the sum total of internet usage."

"My project is ultimately to base search on really understanding what the language means," he told the Guardian in an interview.

"When you write an article, you're not creating an interesting collection of words. You have something to say and Google is devoted to intelligently organizing and processing the world's information.

"The message in your article is information, and the computers are not picking up on that. So we would want them to read everything on the web and every page of every book, then be able to engage in intelligent dialogue with the user to be able to answer their questions."

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David Swan

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David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the tender age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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