Google has confirmed to Re/code that it purchased an artificial intelligence (AI) company without disclosing the amount of cash it paid for it. The publication says Google has bought DeepMind for at least $400 million and that the acquisition negotiations were led by Google CEO Larry Page himself. Sources familiar with the company describe it as “a formidable AI player” that has aggressively recruited personnel in the space.
At this time, it’s unclear what the company will do for Google, as it doesn’t have products of its own for the general public. However, re/code says that DeepMind has a respected team of up to 50 individuals, and that it managed to compete in the past with companies including Google, Facebook and Baidu for talent.
The London-based company says on its website that DeepMind is “a cutting edge artificial intelligence company” which combines “the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.” DeepMind says its first commercial applications are in simulations, e-commerce and games. Re/code further reveals that “multiple sources said the company has been developing a variety of approaches to AI and applying them to various potential products including a recommendation system for e-commerce.”
Although it’s not known whether DeepMind has been involved with robotics before, it’s not far-fetched to speculate that the three-year old “secretive artificial intelligence company,” may provide some of the brains to Google’s already confirmed robot division whose leader is none other than former Android chief Andy Rubin. In mid-December, Google confirmed it purchased robot maker Boston Dynamics for an undisclosed amount, a move that further suggests the search giant is very interested in the robotics business.
For more reasons to be intrigued (and possibly afraid), here’s a list of the five craziest robots in Google’s growing robot army.