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Android Creator Andy Rubin Closes $300 Million Round, Hints Next Big Thing Could Be Skynet

It won't happen anytime soon, but Rubin says it's coming.

Asa Mathat

When Andy Rubin left Google last year, he wondered what he could do after Android, the mobile operating system he created that now powers most of the world’s smartphones.

“I was mowing my grass for a while, and I thought I should go back into business. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m on optimist. Ten years at Google. Am I going to go on and do 10 more Androids? Well, maybe 20,” Rubin told Walt Mossberg at the Code/Mobile conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Some $300 million in financing, which he said he just closed for his startup incubator Playground, will help him get closer to that goal. He is betting that the next phase of computing will be in AI.

“There is a point in time — I have no idea when it is — it won’t be in the next ten years, or twenty years — where there is some form of AI, for lack of a better term, that will be the next computing platform.”

He thinks that all the data and information soaked up by Internet-connected devices, combined with rapidly evolving deep learning technologies (in which he has invested), will create highly intelligent AI networks. These networks will know your thermostat settings, your exercise routine and, in the case of one startup in his accelerator, the chemical balance of your pool.

“The thing that’s gonna be new is the part of the cloud that’s forming the intelligence from all the information that’s coming,” Rubin said. “Maybe that thing in the pool, not a bad idea, if its job is to train a neural network on what chemical analysis of water means.”

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