In order to keep up with the other tech giants in AI, Google is merging its AI study divisions.
Today, Google launched Google DeepMind, a new group made up of the DeepMind team and the Google Brain team from Google Research. Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, said in a blog post that DeepMind and Google will work “closely together” across all of Google’s businesses to “deliver AI research and products.”
As part of forming Google DeepMind, Google says it will create a new scientific board to oversee research work and the unit’s direction. This board will be led by Koray Kavukcuoglu, who is the vice president of research at DeepMind.
Eli Collins, who was VP of product at Google Research, will become VP of products at Google DeepMind. Zoubin Ghahramani, who was head of Google Brain, will join the Google DeepMind research leadership team and answer to Kavukcuoglu.
Jeff Dean, who was one of the people who started Google Brain, will now be the chief scientist for both Google Research and Google DeepMind. He will answer to Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google.
Google Research will stay an independent division that reports to Google’s SVP of technology and society, James Manyika. It will focus on “fundamental advances in computer science in areas like algorithms and theory, privacy and security, quantum computing, health, climate and sustainability, and responsible AI.”
The phenomenal teams from Google Research’s Brain and @DeepMind have made many of the seminal research advances that underpin modern AI, from Deep RL to Transformers. Now we’re joining forces as a single unit, Google DeepMind, which I’m thrilled to lead! https://t.co/n2cpn91AOl
— Demis Hassabis (@demishassabis) April 20, 2023
Hassabis wrote, “Through Google DeepMind, we’re combining our world-class AI talent with the computing power, infrastructure, and resources we need to make the next generation of AI breakthroughs and products for Google and Alphabet in a bold and responsible way.” “The work we’re going to do as part of this new group will lead to the next wave of discoveries that will change the world.”
Hassabis and Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman started DeepMind in 2010. In 2014, Google bought the company for $500 million. In the years that followed, the lab would make a lot of news by making AI that can beat professional Go players and figure out the structure of complex proteins.
Google Brain was made in 2011, a year after DeepMind. Dean, Google researcher Greg Corrado, and Stanford University professor Andrew Ng worked together part-time on study with Greg Corrado. It also did a lot, like making tools like TensorFlow, which is a platform for making AI models, and improving Google Translate.
Since Google bought DeepMind, the two companies have mostly worked well together, at least from the outside looking in. But there have been some fights between DeepMind and Alphabet, the company that owns DeepMind and also Google.
Senior managers at DeepMind are said to have tried to deal with Google for years to get more freedom and a separate legal structure for the sensitive research they do. In May 2021, the talks stopped.
DeepMind has also had trouble breaking even because of its rising costs, which include the computing power needed to train big AI models and a large number of employees (around 1,000).
Alphabet had to write off DeepMind’s debt of nearly £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2019. DeepMind is now making money. They expect to make a small profit of £44 million ($60 million) in 2020, compared to a loss of £477 million ($650 million) in 2019. But almost all of its money comes from selling its technologies to other Alphabet companies, such as Waymo.
We’re proud to announce that DeepMind and the Brain team from @Google Research will become a new unit: 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗴𝗹𝗲 𝗗𝗲𝗲𝗽𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱.
Together, we'll accelerate progress towards a world where AI can help solve the biggest challenges facing humanity. → https://t.co/2pkooMzUvD
— DeepMind (@DeepMind) April 20, 2023
DeepMind has become more important to Alphabet recently, as the company tries to beat competitors like Microsoft and OpenAI in the race for AI that can make money.
Last month, The Information said that software workers at Google’s Brain group are working with people at DeepMind to make Gemini, a program that will compete with OpenAI. Recent AI products from Google, like the chatbot Bard, haven’t been well accepted, which has caused Alphabet’s stock to drop sharply.
Google is apparently putting a lot of resources into the Magi, a set of new search features that use AI. This is because Microsoft is working closely with OpenAI on Bing Chat, an AI-powered chatbot that is built into Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Magi has a group of over 160 people who work together on a job. This group was just put together this year.
“We’ve been an AI-first company since 2016 because we think AI is the most important way to carry out our mission,” Pichai wrote in a blog post that came out this afternoon. “Progress is happening more quickly than ever before.
To make sure that general AI is developed in a brave and responsible way, we’re making Google DeepMind to help us build more powerful systems in a safe and responsible way.