alphabet has merged UK-based DeepMind and US-based Google Brain into a single AI research entity. The new group, imaginatively named “Google DeepMind”, brings together two camps that had developed an internal rivalry.
“Combining all of these talents into one focused team, backed by Google’s computing resources, will greatly accelerate our progress in AI,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post Thursday.
The new unit will be led by Demis Hassabithe co-founder of DeepMind and a UK Government AI Advisor. Born in London Hassabi is a former chess prodigy who graduated from high school two years early and at 17 co-created the Theme Park video game.
After studying computer science and cognitive neuroscience, Hassabis co-founded DeepMind in 2010. Four years later the company was bought by Google for reportedly £400m (€452m) – the Big G’s biggest takeover in Europe to date.
In his new role aHassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, will lead the “development of our most powerful and responsible general AI systems,” Pichai said.
Join Hassabis in the new entity is Jeff Dean, who co-founded Google Brain. Dean will serve as Chief Scientist at both Google Research and Google DeepMind, reporting directly to Pichai.
“Together with Demis, Jeff will help set the future direction of our AI research and lead our most critical and strategic technical projects related to AI, the first of which will be a set of powerful, multimodal AI models,” said Pichai.
The AI competition
The merger comes at a turbulent time for Google’s AI efforts. Despite a series of research breakthroughs, the company was rocked by the explosive emergence of OpenAI. The release of ChatGPT in November reportedly prompted Google management to issue a “Code Red” on the technology gigantic search engine business.
To add insult to injury, ChatGPT based on an architecture developed by Google Brain – the Transformer. OpenAI recognizes this influence on behalf of its vaunted family of large language models: generative pre-trained transformers (GPT).
DeepMind, meanwhile, has made remarkable progress Computational Biology and Reinforcement Learning, but its commercial impact has been less noticeable.
By merging the two research entities, Google hopes to turn science into products and services.
The move has already been supported in DeepMind’s home country. In the UK, government officials were quick to welcome the merger.
“This is a major development,” Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tweeted. “It sounds very technical, but Google just merged its two artificial intelligence research units into one… based in the UK. There will be a lot of competition and a long way to go, but this is a significant step.”