In a bold move to drive the development of more advanced and responsible artificial intelligence (AI) systems, Google and Alphabet announced the formation of a new unit, Google DeepMind. The unit will merge two of the leading research groups in the AI field: the Brain team from Google Research and DeepMind. The announcement was made by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, who shared the news with their employees.
Google has been an AI-first company since 2016, and has used AI to enhance many of its core products, such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, and the Pixel phone’s camera. Additionally, Google has empowered businesses and developers to harness the power of AI through Google Cloud, showcasing AI’s potential to tackle societal challenges like health and climate change.
The new unit, Google DeepMind, aims to significantly accelerate AI progress by combining the talent and resources of both research groups. The Brain team and DeepMind are responsible for critical AI breakthroughs over the last decade, such as AlphaGo, Transformers, word2vec, WaveNet, AlphaFold, sequence to sequence models, distillation, deep reinforcement learning, and distributed systems and software frameworks like TensorFlow and JAX.
Demis Hassabis will take the helm as CEO of Google DeepMind, leading the development of responsible general AI systems. These research efforts will power the next generation of Google’s products and services. Jeff Dean will assume the role of Google’s Chief Scientist, reporting directly to Sundar Pichai. As Chief Scientist, Dean will help set the future direction of AI research and head up critical and strategic technical projects related to AI, including a series of powerful, multimodal AI models.
Google Research will continue to spearhead fundamental advances in computer science, focusing on areas such as algorithms and theory, privacy and security, quantum computing, health, climate and sustainability, and responsible AI. The organization will report to James Manyika, who will also oversee his existing Tech & Society teams.
DeepMind’s CEO Demis Hassabis expressed his excitement about the new venture, highlighting the potential of Google DeepMind to accelerate progress toward a world where AI can help solve humanity’s greatest challenges. By combining world-class AI talent with Google’s computing power and resources, Google DeepMind aims to create the next generation of AI breakthroughs and products across Google and Alphabet, all while prioritizing safety and responsibility.
The Google DeepMind initiative promises a more streamlined and focused approach to AI research and development. The new unit will foster stronger collaboration and execution by simplifying decision-making processes, allowing the team to concentrate on tackling the most significant scientific and engineering challenges of our time.
The formation of Google DeepMind has been facilitated by the strong partnership built between Sundar Pichai, Jeff Dean, James Manyika, and Demis Hassabis over recent months. In addition to Hassabis as CEO, Eli Collins will join the leadership team as Vice President of Product, and Zoubin Ghahramani will join the research leadership team, reporting to Koray Kavukcuoglu.
Moreover, a new Scientific Board for Google DeepMind will be created to oversee the research progress and direction of the unit. Led by Koray Kavukcuoglu, the board will include representatives from across the organization. The composition of this board will be finalized by Jeff Dean, Koray Kavukcuoglu, Zoubin Ghahramani, Shane Legg, and Demis Hassabis in the coming days.
As Google DeepMind takes shape, the leadership team is committed to providing clarity for employees, teams, and stakeholders about the unit’s structure and goals. A town hall meeting has been scheduled to address questions and concerns from team members.
With the launch of Google DeepMind, both Google and Alphabet are poised to make even greater strides in AI research and development, fostering a future in which AI can dramatically improve the lives of billions of people, transform industries, advance scientific knowledge, and serve diverse communities. The new unit represents a crucial milestone in the journey toward more capable and responsible AI systems.
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