The future, according to Google

During a fireside chat with four Google (s goog) Research heavyweights — artificial-intelligence guru Peter Norvig, Google Glass guy Thad Starner, MapReduce paper co-author Jeff Dean and distributed computing wizard Alfred Spector — on Thursday, an audience member sucked up the air in the overcrowded room when he asked “where we’ll be 10 years from now.”

Without a doubt, the panel, at Google I/O,¬†was an apt forum for that question. If any company is innovating in a big way, it’s Google, with recent advancements in voice recognition, wearable technology, quantum computing and other realms. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of the Google luminaries’ ideas actually come into being. Here’s what they had to say:

“Speech recognition and vision are showing dramatic improvements over the last few years. We just need to scale them up and make them work better. … They’re (mobile devices) going to vanish into much smaller devices that you carry around and aren’t full-size laptops.” — Jeff Dean

“We’re getting more contextualized. The computer is not what you go to to use. It’s something that’s around you all the time and sort of more integrated into your life, rather than a separate thing.” — Peter Norvig

“I would argue that we’re currently living the singularity, where the tool stops and the mind begins will start becoming blurry.” — Thad Starner

So there you have it, folks — the computer as a smaller and more natural extension of the human brain. Now, let’s set the kitchen timer for 10 years and see what actually happens.