Why the buzz around DeepMind is dissipating as it transitions from games to science

Why the buzz around DeepMind is dissipating as it transitions from games to science

In 2016, DeepMind, an Alphabet-owned AI unit headquartered in London, was riding a wave of publicity thanks to AlphaGo, its computer program that took on the best player in the world at the ancient Asian board game Go and won. Photos of DeepMind's leader, Demis Hassabis, were splashed across the front pages of newspapers and websites, and Netflix even went on to make a documentary about the five-game Go match between AlphaGo and world champion Lee SeDol. Fast-forward four years, and things have gone surprisingly quiet about DeepMind. "DeepMind has done some of the most exciting things in AI in recent years. It would be virtually impossible for any company to sustain that level of excitement indefinitely," said William Tunstall-Pedoe, a British entrepreneur who sold his AI start-up Evi to Amazon for a reported $26 million. "I expect them to do further very exciting things." AI pioneer Stuart Russell, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, agreed it was inevitable that excitement around DeepMind would tail off after AlphaGo. "Go was a recognized milestone in AI, something that some commentators said would take another 100 years," he said. "In Asia in particular, top-level Go is considered the pinnacle of human intellectual powers. It's hard to see what else DeepMind could do in the near term to match that." From Go to science DeepMind's army of 1,000 plus people, which includes hundreds of highly-paid PhD graduates, continues to pump out academic paper after academic paper, but only a smattering of the ...
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