There are tensions between DeepMind and Google
There is a strong tension induced between Google and its so-called AI brain, DeepMind. To keep the relationship in primitive terms: DeepMind was established in 2010. It is a place for a few of the best AI researchers in the world. DeepMind produced a steady range of insightful Nature front covers and academic research papers. Google, then, bought DeepMind in 2014 and bankrolls its huge loans. And Google wants to make more money out of all those sharp brains.
The Wall Street Journal published the latest story about the two companies. Journal includes Parmy Olson’s report that Google has finished years ago negotiations between these firms, ultimately denying a plea of DeepMind for more independence.
According to the report, DeepMind told employees the conversations were ended “late last month.” A suggestion from DeepMind’s founders was for Google to have the same legal structure as a non-profit. DeepMind reasoned that strong artificial intelligence shouldn’t be managed by a single corporate entity. And according to employees, they were familiar with those plans. But Google didn’t embark on this. Google told DeepMind it doesn’t make sense thinking how much money the company has invested in DeepMind.
This strife isn’t surprising. Google officials have repeatedly expressed that the company’s success lies in AI. Several news stories proposed the Google has been pressurizing DeepMind into commercializing its work. This has compelled projects from DeepMind to utilize its research to minimize energy costs in its data centers and upgrade battery life on Android. But the financial profits of these efforts are not clear. Meanwhile, the UK company’s losses keep increasing, touching an amount of £477 million, says latest public filings for 2019.
Apart from money pressures, another conflict between the two firms seems to be ethical supervision. A much-screamed factor in Google’s acquisition of DeepMind was a statement that Google would arrange an ethics board. Google said it would assure its technology always be deployed fairly. Though the scope of this community, including who sits in it, has always been unclear. A report from The Economist stated, the board even held ownership over any AI developed by DeepMind. DeepMind is a term that refers to AI that meets human capacity over a wide range of functions.
The status of this community is not described in the report. But Olson states that DeepMind’s forthcoming work will now be supervised by a separate ethics board. The board will be operated mostly by senior Google executives.
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