In a move aimed at outdoing its competition in the AI research field, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced on Thursday that it will combine its two AI research divisions, Google Brain and DeepMind, into a new super-unit called Google DeepMind. This is expected to accelerate the development of general AI, which can perform tasks across multiple domains and not only specific ones.
According to a blog article from DeepMind, Co-founder and CEO Demis Hassabis will oversee the new research division. Demis founded DeepMind in 2010 and sold it to Google in 2014 for $500 million.
Demis Hassabis is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in AI and has been instrumental in developing breakthroughs such as AlphaGo, the first program to beat a human in the complex board game Go.
“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!” Demis wrote on Twitter.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that the merger will ensure “bold and responsible development of general AI,” which he described as “one of the most important technological challenges of our time.”
He added that Google Research will continue to collaborate with external partners and researchers, as well as uphold ethical principles and social responsibility.
Move to improve DeepMind
The move to combine DeepMind and Google Brain could be intended to ensure that DeepMind improves on its performance given previous problems a few years back.
According to, TechCrunch, DeepMind failed to break-even and incurring heavy expenses, which led to Alphabet writing off about GBP 1.5 million of the division’s debt in 2019. However, it has been reported that DeepMind is now making some profit.
Combining the unique cultures of Google Brain and DeepMind may pose tactical challenges in their merger, but the resulting strategic advantage in AI innovation makes it worth exploring #GoogleBrain #DeepMind #AI
— Dushyant (@rajpdus) April 21, 2023
By bringing together Google Brain and DeepMind, Alphabet hopes to leverage their combined expertise and resources to advance state-of-the-art AI and create products and services that benefit society.
“The work we are going to be doing now as part of this new combined unit will create the next wave of world-changing breakthroughs,” Demis predicted.
Google shaking off competition
According to Alphabet, the team will work on multimodal AI, like OpenAI’s latest model GPT-4, which can respond not only to text prompts but to image inputs.
The tech giant has for years dominated the search market, with a share of over 80%. However, there are fears that the Alphabet unit could fall behind Microsoft in the fast-moving AI race.
The market is viewing the new venture as attempts by Alphabet to consolidate its market position as the race for AI supremacy intensifies.
One Twitter user Ramzi asked, “Who will reach AGI first? OpenAI, DeepMind, or http://x.AI, or could be China, the one who will turn the table over all, or could be Russia? The race to singularity is about to reach the final line.”