Putin Visits Russia's Answer to Google (Yandex), Sees World-Beating Technology (TV News)

Because they produce the world's best programmers, Russia can easily keep up with the best the west has to offer.  Putin spoke to Russia’s newest AI as they showed off their Self-Driving Cars

Wed, Sep 27, 2017
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Yandex is the Russian version of Google folks, but it's no equal to the American tech giant.

It’s actually far superior...in Russia.

Although Google dominates the global market, in the former Soviet Union, and especially in Russia proper, most people prefer Yandex.

Yandex is optimized for Russian roads and traffic reports, it is better integrated with local infrastructure and economy, not to mention the language interface for Russian and Ukrainian is smoother.

Yandex's dedication to innovation in Russia and neighboring countries is one of the many reasons why it stays on top.

In this great report by Russian Television, Putin himself popped over to Yandex HQ see what all the fuss was about.

He had a lovely conversation with Alice, Yandex’s version of the virtual assistant Siri, though she dodged his question as to whether the Yandex team was bullying her.

They also showed off their latest self-driving cars. Pretty interesting - it shows a journalist reporting from the car as it drives around a room.

Full transcript follows after the video. (best parts bolded)

Welcome back. It's Vesti, let's move on.

Russia will become one of the centers of the industrial revolution of the future. Yandex specialists told this to Putin today.

They also introduced the head of state to Alice.

This is the name of the voice assistant that programmers are now working on.

Also, the president was shown an application that, in some cases, can replace a doctor. An unmanned vehicle was also demonstrated.

Here's the report by Anton Lyadov.

Here is the new technology in action. I'm in the passenger seat of a car, and it moves without a driver. I'm not touching any of the pedals! This is a prototype of the taxi of the future.

Devices on the roof recognize everything that is in front of us. The car can automatically go around obstacles and take us to the destination.

Next year, tests will take place on city streets. In the future, a car can be summoned with a single tap on the screen.

The technologies of Yandex, which have been worked on for the past two decades, are already surpassing human beings.

Hello, Vladimir Vladimirovich, I'm Alice.

Alice is a female assistant that has been developed for mobile phones.

Thanks to highly complex algorithms, it, unlike its Western counterparts, doesn't just formally answer questions about the weather or places to eat, it also maintains conversations on any topic.

Vladimir Putin addressed Alice with a funny question.

Alice, tell me, do these guys give you a hard time?

-Let me think about it. -What? -Yes, think about it. How are you feeling? I'm fine, thanks. I've just been looking at some pictures of cats. Cats always put me in a good mood. How about you? I hope you're doing well, too.

So, she's fine then. But she avoided my question about whether you guys are bullying her. Yup. She's pretty realistic. Today, Yandex is the home page of almost everyone who goes online in our country. Russians make up to 10,000 requests every second. The system registers 25 orders per minute, composes 480 million routes a month and does translations into almost 100 languages.

It started as a small experiment of a Ph.D. student and graduate, whose server fit under the feet of the first system administrator. 20 years later, Yandex is competing on an equal footing with the likes of Google.

Russian users can now choose which search engine to use.

It's really unique. So I've been told. Interestingly, our market share has grown by 4% within the past 5 months. -Just the last 5 months... -It's only the beginning.

So, Yandex is Russia's leading search engine.

A month ago, Yandex launched a new search system named after the founder of Russian cosmonautics—Sergey Korolev. The intelligent search system finds an answer to even the most unexpected question.

Starting in October, a multimedia platform developed by Yandex will be built-into cars made by the leaders of the auto industry, specifically, Toyota, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

Today, Yandex has projects in transportation and even healthcare. It's a new trend to transfer traditional procedures into the digital sphere.

It's what the President mentioned several times—building a digital economy, which requires a world-wide development of technology.

For example, when it comes to recognizing text and speech— artificial intelligence can now do it better than people. So, when will it have us for dinner?

Hopefully, never. Production will move to places where people are fond of technology. Where are these places?

Well, everybody heard about the West Coast of the USA—Seattle, Silicon Valley. Maybe, something like this will be in China and Korea.

Certainly, we'll have such places, too, because, historically, we've known how to do everything in this field.

Judging by the reaction of Western colleagues, Russian technologies often outdo their Western competitors.

The US Senate has recently banned US federal agencies from using the products of another technological colossus—Kaspersky Lab.

The company was accused of facilitating cyber espionage, FBI officers even visited the office. Now the pressure has reached its climax.

The reason for it is unclear as no evidence has been presented, and it won't be presented, as we have nothing to hide.

To attract talented youth to work in the field, Russian IT giants are working in Russia's regions. For example, Yandex offices operate in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.

Vladimir Putin suggested that Yandex open an office in the Far East in the near future. Anton Lyadov, Pavel Meyer, Philip Dubrovsky, Irina Vinogradova for Vesti.

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