Google to acquire AI company DeepMind

Internet giant continues emerging technology spending spree.

Brain with circuits in it

Google has agreed to acquire artificial intelligence company DeepMind for an undisclosed sum.

The London-based firm, which was founded in 2012, claims to bring together the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.

Its first commercial applications have been in simulations, e-commerce and games.

According to technology website re/code, Google paid $400 million for DeepMind. IT Pro contacted Google for confirmation of this figure but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Google made its name as a search engine before branching out into other internet-based offerings such as webmail and productivity apps, followed by its Android mobile operating system.

In recent times the company has expanded into real-life technology. While it has carried out some in-house development, such as Google Glass, Google Car and the most recently announced Google Contact Lens, it has also pursued a number of acquisitions of emerging technologies.

In the run up to Christmas, the firm bought military robotics firm Boston Dynamics for an undisclosed sum, having made several robotics acquisitions previously.

It then kicked off the New Year by acquiring smart thermostat and fire alarm maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion (1.94 billion) in cash, its second most expensive purchase after Motorola Mobility in 2012.

Google also hired futurist, inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzwell in 2012 to lead an engineering team focused on machine learning and language processing, and in May 2013 announced a partnership with NASA to launch the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.

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