Alphabet Inc. has merged its two artificial intelligence research divisions in an effort to accelerate progress in this emerging technology. Tech giants are struggling to gain an edge in AI.
Mountain View's company has merged the DeepMind unit with Google's Brain division from its research arm to streamline its AI efforts. According to Sundar Pichai, Alphabet's chief executive, the merging of the two teams will help the company progress because AI requires enormous amounts of money and energy to develop, test, and deploy.
Pichai wrote: "We will accelerate our AI progress significantly."
Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind will be the chief executive officer of a new Google DeepMind unit that will oversee the development of Google's most advanced AI system and conduct research. Hassabis said in a recent blog that the team needs to be more efficient, collaborative and faster to achieve its goals.
Hassabis stated that "Building an ever more capable general AI safely and responsibly requires us to solve some of the most difficult scientific and engineering challenges we face today."
Jeff Dean will report directly to Pichai, the new chief scientist. He was previously head of Google Research, and led the Brain team. Dean, in collaboration with Hassabis will determine the company's AI research direction.
Alphabet's focus on AI has been long-standing. Google purchased the U.K.'s DeepMind in 2014 for $500 million, and Pichai started to talk publicly about its AI first mission two years later. DeepMind's 2021 net income was PS102 million ($126.9million) on revenues of PS1.4 billion ($1.5billion) from its R&D activities.
The company was hesitant to release apps that could generate images and texts similar to those of a human being, due to internal disagreements about whether these tools were ready for worldwide adoption.
OpenAI LLC, which backs OpenAI, has incorporated AI technology into Bing search engine and other products. This could put Google's dominant search business in danger. Microsoft, the company that backs OpenAI's technology, has quickly incorporated AI into its Bing Search engine and other products. This could threaten Google's dominance in search.