Report: Google's AI Dreams Are For Search, Not Robotics

By Jamie Condliffe on at

With its mind seeming firmly on robotics right now, the assumption was that Google's £300 million AI purchase would slot right in to that same division. But it turns out that such artificial intelligence will instead be powering the company's search systems.

Re/code reports that the brains from DeepMind—purchased for £300 million yesterday by Google, which beat Facebook in negotiations—won't answer to Andy Rubin, who is heading up the robotics work. Instead, they'll report to Google's search expert Jeff Dean.

Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind, got in touch with Gizmodo UK:

"We’re really excited to be joining Google," he said. "This partnership will allow us to turbo-charge our mission to harness the power of machine learning tools to tackle some of society’s toughest problems, and help make our everyday lives more productive and enjoyable. We've built a world-leading team here in the UK and we're looking forward to accelerating the impact of our technology with Google."

Jeff Dean is big on developing neural network systems to identify data, and apparently DeepMind has in the past worked on "a smarter recommendation system for online commerce, and something to do with images." So potentially a very natural fit, without a single 'bot in sight.

Re/code, which broke the news of the AI purchase yesterday, also points out that it was DeepMind which insisted Google create an ethics board to monitor what could and couldn't be done with the AI tech. If the report of using the AI capabilities for search are true, then, that board better take privacy pretty damn seriously. [Re/code]

Image by Eddie Codel under Creative Commons license