Alphabet has merged UK-based DeepMind and US-based Google Brain into a single AI research unit. With the imaginative name “Google DeepMind,” the new group unites two camps that had developed an internal rivalry.
“Combining all this talent into one focused team, backed by Google’s computing power, will significantly accelerate our progress in AI,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement. a Thursday blog post.
The new unit will be led by Demis Hassabisthe co-founder of DeepMind and a AI adviser to the UK government. Born in London, Hassabis is a former chess prodigy graduated from high school two years early and co-created the video game Theme Park at age 17.
After completing degrees in computer science and cognitive neuroscience, Hassabi’s co-founder DeepMind in 2010. Four years later, the company was bought by Google for a reported £400 million (€452 million) – the Big G’s largest European acquisition to date.
In his new role aHassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, will lead the “development of our most capable and responsible overall AI systems,” Pichai said.
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Participate Hassabis at the new unit is Jeff Dean, co-founder of Google Brain. Dean will be Chief Scientist at both Google Research and Google DeepMind, reporting directly to Pichai.
“By collaborating with Demis, Jeff will help shape the future direction of our AI research and lead our most critical and strategic engineering projects related to AI, the first of which will be a suite of high-performance, 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 has been shaken by the explosive rise of OpenAI. The release of ChatGPT in November Reportedly led Google management to issue a “code red” on the technology giant search engine.
To add insult to injury, ChatGPT is based on an architecture developed by Google Brain — the transformer. OpenAI acknowledges this influence in the name of its vaunted family of large language models: generative pre-trained transformers (GPT).
DeepMind, meanwhile, has made remarkable strides in the field of computational biology and reinforcement learning, but its commercial impact was less noticeable.
By combining the two research units, Google hopes to turn science into products and services.
The move has already garnered support in DeepMind’s home country. In the United Kingdom, government officials were quick to welcome the merger.
‘This is a major development’ tweeted Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. “It sounds very technical, but Google has just merged its two artificial intelligence research divisions into one… based in the UK. There will be a lot of competition and there is still a long way to go, but this is an important step.”