Alphabet and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has just released a public announcement that Google’s “Brain” and “DeepMind” artificial intelligence (AI) projects are to be combined into one. The former is a Google-owned artificial intelligence initiative, while the latter was a 2014 acquisition.
According to Pichai, Demis Hassabis, CEO of “DeepMind,” will head the creation of Google DeepMind and “lead the development of our most capable and responsible general AI systems.” The chief scientist for Google Research and Google “DeepMind” will be Jeff Dean, a co-founder of the Brain team and a former senior vice president of Google Research and Health.
“Together, in close collaboration with our fantastic colleagues across the Google Product Areas, we have a real opportunity to deliver AI research and products that dramatically improve the lives of billions of people, transform industries, advance science, and serve diverse communities,” Hassabis writes in a memo to employees. “By creating Google DeepMind, I believe we can get to that future faster. Building ever more capable and general AI, safely and responsibly, demands that we solve some of the hardest scientific and engineering challenges of our time,” he added.
This is interesting, as Google and “DeepMind” have occasionally clashed. “DeepMind” apparently failed in its long-running effort to break away from Google in 2021 as the tech giant started pressuring “DeepMind” to turn its research into a product. Google, though, is likely looking to consolidate its research teams as it forges ahead with its foray into the AI sector.
It also comes off the back of “Bard’s” seemingly botched release. In March, Google released early access to “Bard,” a competitor to “Bing Chat” and “ChatGPT.” However, as many technology outlets have reported, “Bard” is far less capable than its competitors thus far. This, despite Pichai stating that updates are on the way, it has been reported that Google employees criticized the product before its introduction and encouraged management not to make it available.
According to reports, Google is also pouring significant resources into “Magi,” a group of new search features with AI capabilities, in response to Microsoft’s close partnership with OpenAI on Bing Chat, an AI-powered chatbot linked with the latter’s Bing search engine. Microsoft sees this as a danger. Over 160 people comprise “Magi’s” task team, which was established this year.
“We’ve been an AI-first company since 2016, because we see AI as the most significant way to deliver on our mission,” Pichai wrote in the announcement. “The pace of progress is now faster than ever before. To ensure general AI’s bold and responsible development, we’re creating Google DeepMind to help us build more capable systems more safely and responsibly,” he added.