All of Google’s products are about to get smarter. The company is in the final stages of acquiring artificial intelligence company DeepMind, a London-based business founded by child chess prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, for $400 million.
The buy is described by Recode sources as a “talent acquisition,” and the company’s workforce is apparently impressive enough that Google CEO Larry Page led the deal himself. Prior to its purchase, DeepMind was aggressively recruiting top-tier AI researchers, and had secured more than $50 million in funding.
As part of the deal, Google has agreed to establish an ethics board to ensure DeepMind’s technologies aren’t abused. That’s a consolation the company may have had to make in order to beat Facebook, which began considering an acquisition of DeepMind last year.
Though Google confirmed the deal, the company failed to specify what it hoped to accomplish with DeepMind’s staff and technology. A cursory glance at DeepMind’s website, though, reveals that it was developing AI applications for e-commerce and games. Those areas, along with current and future moonshots, are bound to see improvements.