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Google continued its run towards world domination this weekend when it announced its latest acquisition, DeepMind Technologies, an artificial intelligence company. According to the company’s website, DeepMind “combine[s] the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build general purpose learning algorithms.” Translation: They are attempting to make robots that think like humans. Good god, haven’t you people seen “Terminator”?
However, to allay any fears of T-1000s one day stalking the planet, destroying everything in their path, Google has set up an ethics board to prevent any malicious intent. According to The Information, the purchase cost Google somewhere in the $500 million range, though the company wouldn’t confirm that number. It reportedly won the deal over Facebook. The acquisition comes only a month after the company bought Boston Dynamics, a start-up that “makes robots that can run faster than Usain Bolt” (sorry for another “Terminator” reference but it’s now impossible to get the image of a Usain Bolt-like robot running after my car while Linda Hamilton shrieks from the passenger seat).
Despite the ethics board, DeepMind’s website is only a placeholder with a few sentences of information, making this whole acquisition less reassuring. Until more information is available, we will have to put our trust in Google that its robotics division––second only to the Pentagon for the biggest names in robots––that these technologies won’t be used for nefarious means. Granted, we’ve already done that, haven’t we?
For a good round-up (plus insight) into Google’s latest acquisition, head here.