W hen Google bought DeepMind, a London-based technology start-up, five years ago, it claimed it would preserve the company’s autonomy. It would set up an independent ethics board for the artificial intelligence company. After Google's restructuring to Alphabet, it would be part of the holding company, rather than under Google’s umbrella. It would even prevent Google staff from entering DeepMind offices. But any illusion of Deepmind's independence disappeared last week as one of the its co-founders, Mustafa Suleyman, had taken leave in a mutual decision with the firm. “Mustafa’s taking some time out right now after ten hectic years," a DeepMind spokesperson said. It is a situation Patrick Pichette probably could have foreseen. Google's former chief financial officer was involved in striking the deal. Now, he says, he actively advises companies against selling out early. “My counsel is, why would you sell yourself?” Montreal-born Pichette says. “You’ll be caught in the big … [Read more...] about British start-ups should rebuff US takeover offers, says ex-Google finance chief
G oogle's AI company has racked up debts of more than £1bn as it fights for preeminence in artificial intelligence research and development. DeepMind's spending has risen as parent company Alphabet, which also owns Google, hires top academics, researchers and engineers in an effort to beat out its competitors. Its annual accounts from Companies House show losses of more than £470m in 2018, up from £302m the year before, and its expenses rose from £334m to £568m. Of the £1.03bn due for repayment this year, £883m is owed to parent company Alphabet. DeepMind's accounts said it had "written assurance" from Google that it would be supported for at least another year and helped to pay its debts. In 2018, staff costs almost doubled to £398m. Its 2018 hires included high-flying former City of London bankers and developers and Silicon Valley veterans. It has previously been criticised for offering Oxford and Cambridge academics vast amounts of money to tempt them away from academia … [Read more...] about DeepMind losses mount as Google spends heavily to win AI arms race
D eepMind has been hailed as one of the greatest British success stories of the modern age. But when Google announced that it had bought the London-based artificial intelligence lab in 2014 for £400m, few people had heard of the company or its two founders, Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman. Today, DeepMind is supposedly on the way to creating an “artificial general intelligence” that will work like the human mind does, and is believed to be one of the most prestigious AI companies on Earth. But the road to success hasn’t been easy. This week, it emerged that its enigmatic co-founder Suleyman has been placed on leave. In a tweet on Wednesday night Suleyman confirmed he was taking "personal time for a break to recharge" and that he would return to DeepMind "soon". Suleyman led the charge to turn DeepMind’s research into products which could be integrated into Google’s products, helping it to reduce its data centre cooling bill by 40pc and improve its Google Translate … [Read more...] about With £1bn in debt and its founder placed on leave, is Google’s DeepMind in trouble?
G oogle's parent company Alphabet is on the verge of hitting a trillion-dollar stock market value for the first time, potentially becoming the fourth of the major US technology companies to reach the milestone. Alphabet’s market value sat at around $990bn (£762bn) as of Monday evening, as investors brushed off months of employee spats, the departure of its co-founders and ongoing competition and data privacy investigations. Shares have climbed by 7pc this year and by more than a third in the last 12 months as it core internet advertising business continues to grow strongly, despite repeated predictions of a slowdown. If it hits the trillion-dollar mark, it will be only the fourth US company in history to do so, following Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, which have reached the level in the last two years. It comes despite the company facing the prospect of stricter regulation in the US and UK, where officials are investigating whether it has abused the dominant position of its … [Read more...] about Google parent company Alphabet on verge of trillion-dollar valuation
O ne of Silicon Valley's most prominent billionaires has called on the US military to give private companies access to radio frequencies currently reserved for security operations, in a bid to push back against the growing dominance of Huawei. Eric Schmidt, former chairman of Google, wants the Pentagon to open up a range of telecommunications spectrum used for top secret communication and critical functions such as air traffic control in an attempt to prevent the US ceding control of 5G supremacy to the Chinese giant. Appearing before an inquiry into improving competitiveness in critical technologies in Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Mr Schmidt said he was concerned that the UK and other countries had enabled China “to populate their networks with Chinese principles,” asking the committee, “how is that OK with us?”. The billionaire has asked the US military to share some of its telecommunication frequencies to ensure American companies can compete with the Chinese technology … [Read more...] about Eric Schmidt says Pentagon should open up its tech to stunt Huawei’s growth