Sources are saying Google has reportedly just signed a deal for an British startup DeepMind, a rather secretive artificial intelligence startup. This acquisition shows Google’s continued interest in developing leading future-tech and comes just one month after they announced they have plans to create robots.
Claims about how much they are shelling out varies between $400 million and $500 million, but either way, they are spending a pretty penny. The cash is likely to pay off, as Google has been admitting to interest in both A.I and robotics are key features to their top secret Google X projects.
DeepMind is an incredibly small company for such an acquisition this early in the game. With 75 employees, no one is really sure right now exactly what it is they do. Their website says only that they are a cutting edge AI development firm, and that they deal with ecommerce, gaming and simulator algorithms. That is hardly an extensive explanation.
Perhaps more intriguing is that Google was immediately on the defensive against any potential customer concerns. They said they will be creating an “ethics board” that will monitor all work done in their A.I department, including products. The purpose is to make sure the technology is not abused. The question is, what risks are they expecting to pop up in that area?
Either way, DeepMind is not an unknown entity in the A.I field. Despite their small size, they are described as an aggressive and formidable company that have been poaching employees within the industry and building a strong core from the very start. It is no wonder Google was interesting in getting their hands on them.
Right now, there aren’t that many details available about what Google plans to do with this deal. But you can bet there will be some new projects being started up in Google X Labs, and I, for one, am very excited to see the eventual outcome.
As for the move itself, competing against other tech companies from the early stages of A.I development is crucial. The technology landscape is widening, and small firms offer as much threat against big names as directly competing brands do.
More importantly, artificial intelligence is still a high unknown commodity. How it will (and can) be applied is up in the air, and so the field is ripe for innovation. The first brand to release a stable product using the technology is going to be well placed for dominating the market, applying it to fresh ideas while others struggle to get their foot in the door.
Source: Tech Crunch