back to article Is Google building SKYNET? Ad kingpin buys AI firm DeepMind

Google has agreed to acquire London-based artificial intelligence firm DeepMind Technologies, adding to its growing stable of robot companies. The acquisition was reported yesterday by tech news site Re/code, which claimed that the price tag for the firm was $400m (£241m). Google was not commenting on the deal. According to …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    We can build you: ROBOBLAIR SOON!

    "GOOGLING A POLITICIAN" == Replace it with higher-quality AI from the Choc Factory. Guaranteed 100% non-sociopathic!

    Plasticky face, no baby petting and robotic demeanour will be (welcome?) side-effects of high intelligence, no ego problems and actually logical and consistent behaviour!

    1. SpeakerToAliens

      Re: We can build you: ROBOBLAIR SOON!

      You should read Isaac Asimov's story "Evidence" (

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: We can build you: ROBOBLAIR SOON!

        The final section of I, Robot has a similar theme.

        Shortened version: A group of scientists discover a conspiracy. A group of advanced AIs - fixed computers, rather than robots - acting together to subvert government and effectively take over the world. The scientists debate how best to act on this knowledge, until they realise that these AIs are superhumanly intelligent, near-infallable, have no personal desire for wealth or power, are incapable of harming a human being except to prevent harm to another, and are by nature of their design incapable of acting in any manner that is not in the best interests of mankind collectively. The scientists decide that the best action is inaction: Let the robots win.

        1. Gartal

          Re: We can build you: ROBOBLAIR SOON!

          The only real problem with this of course is that nowhere has the Three Laws of Robbish been implemented. In Asimov's stories, the driver for the appearance and refinement of robots was consumerism and space travel, not the military. See the problem? Once the military steps in, there will be no laws other than Kill Them!

          For a better view of things AI and robotic, take a look at Dan Simmons Hyperion phone book.

          Then again you could look at Neil Asher's Polity books, the AI's in them <seem> to be a little better behaved than Simmons'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We can build you: ROBOBLAIR SOON!

      "no ego problems and actually logical and consistent behaviour!"

      There is nothing inconsistent about Blair the meatsack's behaviour, he's been utterly self serving in every thing he's ever done.

  2. Ben Bonsall


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll be back... but while you wait, here are some products you might be interested in...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd really like to see the return of the Rise Of The Machines subheading to pull all these stories together.


    1. Shrimpling

      Re: ROTM

      I used to love the ROTM articles... It was always one of the first categories I checked when visiting the site.

      I suppose in defence of its removal there are only so many "I, for one, welcome" comments you could read.

      1. Rob

        Re: ROTM

        "I suppose in defence of its removal there are only so many "I, for one, welcome" comments you could read."

        No there isn't ;-)

      2. Long John Brass

        Re: ROTM

        I for one welcome the return of our ROTM article overlords

  5. mIRCat

    At least they won't sound like Siri

    "The robot division is being headed up by Andy Rubin, who used to run the Android business."

    I guess that's one way to beat Apple.

    Your clothes... give them to me, now.

  6. Nya

    So Google's going to add it a British brain. So when it tries to take over the world we offer it a cuppa or a pint and it'll think sod it, am off to watch the footy instead :P

    1. JeevesMkII

      Its one weakness: Poor reception on radio 4 long wave.

    2. InITForTheMoney

      But before having a cup of tea and a pint (or 10), those British brained robots just might invade 88% of the world and enslave / murder / rule a good portion of humanity.

      I for one welcome our new robot overlords, their robot King / Queen and their British grammar and spelling.

    3. AbeSapian

      "It's the brain drain. His brain is draining." - Beatles, Help!

  7. Anonymous Blowhard

    So a smart heating control is worth 8x more than AI technology? Maybe the AI will be used to help their aquisition strategy?

    1. jubtastic1

      You're thinking too hard

      There's no grand plan, I mean, sure something may come up when you let your engineers play around with all these pieces, but that's just gravy, the goal is patents, lovely lovely patents.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You're thinking too hard

        You think because some acquisitions, like Motorola, or the Rockstar consortium's buy of Nortel's patents were for patents that all are? It is hard to see Nest being worth $3.2 billion based on patents (well, it is hard to see it being worth $3.2 billion by any measure, I guess)

        Sometimes companies acquire another because they plan to use their technology. It is a lot easier to see where Google might use the type of stuff DeepMind is working on to improve their core search technology by making it better able to know what it is you're actually looking for when doing a search. DeepMind may not even have any patents, some companies operate more in terms of trade secrets - as Google does for its latest versions of search software which are not covered by patents.

        Similarly, when Apple buys SnappyLabs they're probably buying it to integrate into iOS, not because Apple wants to try to fight others based on camera patents.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, good.

    now the first AI's built by humans will not only be financial speculators or military systems. They could be advertising executives as well. I dread to think what sort of machine society that mix is going to create...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, good.

      It's a two sided war. Just setup an AI to browse the net and filter out the adds for you. Like an AI internet browser plugin. You will though have to reinstall every day as a few hours of automatic WOW dancing dwarf videos or fake dating site popup will drive even the most hardened emotionally dead machine to the grave.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    They do seem keen on doing things in-house instead of outsourcing these days. Presumably the philosophy is: "The suppliers are not set. There is no kit but what we make for ourselves."

    Coat... getting it.

  10. Michael Habel

    Are those Brains from donor Rats? That previously flew F22s

    Yes you gotta dig pretty deep into the Wayback Machine to get this One...

  11. Admiral Grace Hopper

    When you asked Google to comment

    Did they reply, "F*ck you, asshole"?

  12. Rob

    A google terminator

    Give me your clothes staff, your boots patents and your motorcycle IP

  13. Mystic Megabyte


    They must be testing it out because I just had a video call from Elvis Presley recommending a sailing holiday for only $999.

    On a serious note this will go badly when the NSA have the ability to impersonate world leaders. Imagine an AI version of Kim Jong-un ordering his troops via video link to shell a nearby "rebel" regiment.

    Nobody will be safe, anyone could be impersonated and discredited or blackmailed.

  14. solo

    The wretched

    Why do you think they are thinking .. they are just making the evil.

    One day, the evil will kill the creators and sob and think "What a wretch I am!"

  15. Spinel
    Black Helicopters


    I have No Mouth and I Must Scream !

  16. ashdav

    Fourth Law Of Robotics

    Don't do evil....

  17. Simon Rockman

    If you've bought a company whose only asset is a bunch of briliant minds

    You are going to have to make damn sure you have a way to stop those minds from wandering.

  18. Nanners

    This is so Fracking Scary.

    Teach your children now. Start spreading the news with #Prep. I have. These people are not going to be able to handle this technology. They are too arrogant, eager, and young. This is the incarnation of evil and it's about to get very, very bad for the human animal. There is only one possible outcome. After the fall of man we will join with machine and try to fight them from the inside. #Prep.

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