Google is shelling out $400 million to buy a secretive artificial intelligence company called DeepMind.

Google confirmed the deal after Re/code inquired about it, but declined to specify a price.

Based in London, DeepMind was founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

This is in large part an artificial intelligence talent acquisition, and Google CEO Larry Page led the deal himself, sources said. According to online bios, Hassabis in particular is quite a talent, a child prodigy in chess who was later called “probably the best games player in history” by the Mind Sports Olympiad.

DeepMind has only a landing page for a website where it describes its business as building learning algorithms for simulations, e-commerce and games. Profiles on LinkedIn indicate the company is about three years old.

Sources said Founders Fund is a major investor in DeepMind, along with Horizons Ventures. Skype and Kazaa developer Jaan Tallinn was an investor and adviser (not a founder, as we initially described him).

Other Google AI experts include Jeff Dean and Anna Patterson. The company also recently hired Geoffrey Hinton part-time.

Update: Though DeepMind may not be a household name in tech, sources in the artificial intelligence community describe the company as a formidable AI player and say it has been aggressively recruiting in the space. One source said DeepMind has a team of at least 50 people and has secured more than $50 million in funding. This person described DeepMind as “the last large independent company with a strong focus on artificial intelligence,” and said it competed with companies like Google, Facebook and Baidu for talent.

Multiple sources said the company has been developing a variety of approaches to AI, and applying them to various potential products including a recommendation system for e-commerce.



13 comments
DimitriAus
DimitriAus

It is obvious that Google is missing intelligence, but do they know that you can't buy it for money?

Bahmani
Bahmani

Tying this to the Nest acquisition, and Perkins' comment indicating he finally understands how bad the Holocaust was, my "99% concern" with all of this is how any of this BIG money supposed to "Trickle Down"? How does this kind of wildly ridiculous valuation benefit any bottom folks? It's OK if it doesn't or that Trickle Down is nothing more than weak theory, and that none of this will ever reach the floor.  I can handle that.


I'm just tired of hearing that it eventually will.


If Google does not kill the Nest, and somehow manages to figure out and get into the hardware business without screwing it up, I am sure some of the newly minted millionaires at Deep can now afford a $299 thermostat.

Marc (DarcFlii LLC)
Marc (DarcFlii LLC)

Man, Google looks to making all the right moves. They will completely transform the human mind soon here. 

ewparris
ewparris

More innovation… cough acquisition cough… from Google.

Screwgle
Screwgle

Google is  the Government

Screwgle
Screwgle

I am the inventor of the laser level 5836081. My latest invention is a device that will not allow any  video source to record the person with said device.  Bizarre as this may  sound...it works perfectly.  I will not license to Google due to the aggressive  direction I feel this mammoth is leaning.

Kevin Marquard
Kevin Marquard

It's unconstitutional for the US government to track their citizens each and every move. But if the government gets selective data directly from a private enterprise (Google), it is perfectly lawful. That may explain why the FTC and USDOJ seem to be turning a blind eye to Google's aggressive expansion into areas that will further increase their capabilities to monitor individuals.

mrvalls
mrvalls

This could be Google's response to IBM's stepped up investment in Watson.  Will be interesting to follow....

SteveMahoney
SteveMahoney

Nest + DeepMind + Boston Dynamics = BadAss Security System at Home


znmeb
znmeb

Interesting - I wonder if there was a bidding war. Does DeepMind have any government contracts? I can't imagine Google buying more AI so they can make search better. ;-)

Rainmaking
Rainmaking

@Screwgle I would love to hear more about it. More of us have to stand up to this BEAST of an electronic assault. It takes courage to do it. It's Rainmaking Time! 

Dr Jack Batofsky
Dr Jack Batofsky

@SteveMahoney This more likely means the end of free will as we know it. We will be totally controlled if we don't stop it now.

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