Google is acquiring an artificial intelligence company called DeepMind Technologies. The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but sources with Re/Code report that it was worth around $400 million. DeepMind describes themselves as having the ability to combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build general-purpose learning algorithms. DeepMind’s first commercial applications were used in simulations, e-commerce and games.
DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman three years ago. Supposedly, DeepMind was in talks with Facebook about an acquisition in December 2012, but that deal fell through. Google CEO Larry Page is believed to have led this deal himself. Google also agreed to establish an ethics board to make sure that artificial intelligence technology is not abused, according to sources with The Information.
This is Google’s four acquisition this month. It was announced on January 4th that Google acquired an Android development company called Bitspin. This was followed by the $3.2 billion acquisition of smart thermostat company, Nest Labs, on January 13th. Two days later, Google acquired a software security company called Impermium.
Google’s translation and speech technologies relies on artificial intelligence. Google launched the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab this past May to “build better models of the world to make more accurate predictions.” As part of the initiative, Google partnered with NASA. The NASA Ames Research Center is hosting the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab and is housing a quantum computer from D-Wave Systems and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA).
Investors in DeepMind included Founders Fund and Horizons Ventures. DeepMind reportedly had around 75 employees as of December 2013.