Google Purchases Mysterious AI Company
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has purchased artificial intelligence company DeepMind for between $400 and $500 million, according to a report from Re/code. Google confirmed the purchase with the website, but not the price of the acquisition.
Sources who spoke to Re/code said that the deal was led by Google CEO Larry Page. DeepMind is a fairly mysterious company founded by childhood chess prodigy Demis Hassabis, as well as researchers Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. The company’s website is just one page, describing itself as “a cutting edge artificial intelligence company.” ”We combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms,” the website reads, without getting any more specific about the kind of work the firm does.
Sources who spoke to Re/code about the company said that while it may be small, it’s also a formidable player in the development of AI. The sources said that DeepMind has competed with companies including Google, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Baidu for engineering talent. The company has been working on numerous applications for AI, including building a smarter recommendation system for e-commerce sites.
According to a report from The Information seen by TechCrunch, Google outbid Facebook for the purchase of DeepMind. The DeepMind founders will join inventor and author Ray Kurzweil, who currently heads Google’s team of engineers working on AI and language processing. One of Kurzweil’s projects includes making a search engine so smart that it would act like a “cyberkinetic friend.”