Google acquires AI start-up DeepMind Technologies for US$500m

27 Jan 2014

Internet giant Google is to acquire UK artificial intelligence (AI) player DeepMind Technologies for more than US$500m, after beating social network Facebook to the chase.

It is understood that Facebook was also competing to acquire DeepMind. According to Re/code, Google CEO Larry Page led the acquisition himself.

Neuroscientist Demis Hassibis along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman founded London-based DeepMind. Hassibis was a child prodigy in chess and the Mind Sports Olympiad described him as “probably the best games player in history.”

The three year-old company creates algorithms for simulations, e-commerce and games.

Investors in DeedMind include Peter Thiel and Elon Musk’s Founder’s Fund, as well as Horizon Ventures and Skype and Kazaa co-founder Jaan Tallinn.

The company is understood to have so far secured more than US$50m in funding and employs 50 people.

On the face of it, the acquisition may seem like a talent grab by Google, but artificial intelligence is where much of the action is going to be with Google, Facebook, IBM and others endeavouring to establish a leadership position in the field through areas like deep learning.

Artificial intelligence image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years