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Google buys up AI startup DeepMind

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DeepMind

Google has purchased artificial intelligence company DeepMind, to complement its acquisition of various robotics companies.

The DeepMind acquisition has been confirmed by Google to Re/Code, but the site claims the search engine giant has shelled out $400 million (£2.4 million) for the startup.

According to the site’s sources, Google CEO Larry Page was in charge of the DeepMind deal himself.

Although the deal was for DeepMind as a company, it is said to be an attempt to get hold of specific AI talent.

DeepMind is founded by Demis Hassabis, a neuroscientist, prominent games designer and a world-class game player, reaching master standard at the age of 13.

Google is also wanting to get its hands on the other two DeepMind founders, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

According to some LinkedIn profiles, DeepMind is only around three years old. Its website landing page describes DeepMind as  a London-based “cutting edge artificial intelligence company” that combines machine leanring and systems neuroscience to “build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.”

“Our first commercial applications are in simulations, e-commerce and games.”

Further sources suggest DeepMind already has 50 employees after an aggressive recruitment period where it also obtained over $50 million (£30.2 million) in funding.

In December 2013, Google acquired robotics company Boston Dynamics, which was the eighth such company to be purchased by Google within a six month period.

The company is well known for its robots – Cheetag, BigDog and WildCat – that are capable of running as fast as 29mph and can manoeuvre all manner of terrain.

Google confirmed it was moving into the robotics market in early December last year, with former Android head Andy Rubin set to take the project’s reins.

Rubin said the company has a “10-year vision” for its robotics plans, and sees the industry as a “green field”.

“I feel with robotics it’s a green field. We’re building hardware, we’re building software. We’re building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack”, said Rubin.

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