back to article UK.gov is not being advised by Google. Repeat. It is not being advised by Google

Google is not advising the British government on AI, the Ministry of Fun assured this week, following the appointment of Google's Demis Hassabis as an advisor on AI. The US ad, search and cloud biz acquired Hassabis' company DeepMind four years ago and he has since been a Google employee. In the words of The Guardian, Hassabis …

  1. Blockchain commentard
    Facepalm

    Advised by Google or Advertised by Google ?

    1. Teiwaz

      Advised by Google or Advertised by Google ?

      Not exactly an exclusive club there, Google are hardly discerning.

      Might actually be an improvement if they were, as much as can be said that's negative about Google, they are fairly efficient at IT, UK.gov is not.

      What am I saying, we already know Politicians won't be advised on IT. They want 'press any key and criminals will be identified, prosecuted and incarcerated and then retire to a commons bar' *

      * A button that makes the EU agree to everything (or just go away) would also be on their wishlist.

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    Even the worst AI

    Could probably make a better go of things than the May government, & come cross as more endearingly human than May.

    Though its a pretty low bar.

    Making decisions based on Yes / No via random number generator odd / even would probably out perform the UK government.

    1. Semtex451

      Re: Even the worst AI

      Certainly it would appear that AI might actually happen before Brexit does.

      1. Chris G

        Re: Even the worst AI

        AI is guaranteed to happen before a politician will actually understand what it is and how it can be ethically used.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Even the worst AI

          Or not happen at all.

          Either way Google has your data.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Even the worst AI

      Making decisions based on Yes / No via random number generator odd / even would probably out perform the UK government.

      Three chimpanzees scratching their arses would outperform the UK government. They'd cost a lot less as well. Peanuts, in fact.

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: Even the worst AI

        Three chimpanzees scratching their arses would outperform the UK government

        Apart from the crap flinging - whether brexit or remain, UK politicians just ladle it out the mouth or arse and throw it about.

      2. hplasm
        Happy

        Re: Even the worst AI

        "Three chimpanzees scratching their arses would outperform the UK government....Peanuts, in fact."

        And in the USA? Snoopy for President !

        Or failing that, any other cartoon character would be better than most candidates...

  3. wiggers
    Alert

    Just what we need..

    Moar QUANGOs!

    "I'm from the government, I'm here to help."

  4. Hollerithevo

    He's not being paid?

    He's doing this for the Gov't for free? And he would work against the organisation that is actually paying his salary? Big companies such as Google don't lend out high-priced help out of love for humanity.

    1. JimC

      Re: He's not being paid?

      Well that is the Google model. You offer the service "free" and make a fortune selling the 'customer'...

      1. cd

        Re: He's not being paid?

        Brexit >>>> no GDPR>>>>"Hi, this is Google, let us help you with that AI initiative."

        Enjoy being a customer, whether you agreed to it or not.

  5. Bavaria Blu
    FAIL

    Industry 4.0

    The Government doesn't even have a coherent Brexit strategy, let alone an Industrial Strategy.

    What is good for Google is not necessarily good for Britain.

    How about making degrees cheaper so that we have a better educated work force to compete in the world and not become a cheap offshore sweatshop.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: Industry 4.0

      How about making degrees cheaper so that we have a better educated work force

      Not necessarily, there's been some accusations that Uni's are making degrees easier lately.

    2. hplasm
      Holmes

      Re: Industry 4.0

      "The Government doesn't even have a coherent ...strategy.

      FTFY :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    proliferation of new government bodies and advisors talking about AI

    it's good practice, repeat, GOOD PRACTICE, to spend money on things which are not even there, because when they're there, they'll zap us into oblivion, so why die poor, when you can die rich? (this is your AI speaking)

  7. cantankerous swineherd

    this is about flogging people's health records. targeted adverts for quack cancer doctors? fantastic revenue stream right there, especially if you ration nhs treatment.

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Pull the other one it has bells on it.

    If anyone believes that they aren't helping HMG then watch out, the men in white coats will be along shortly.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advice? No thanks.

    Those of us working on government IT contracts know from bitter experience that they don't take advice from anyone that remotely contradicts top-down policy. That applies doubly for those of us who say things like "your deadline is batshit crazy" or "changing the tech stack for the 6th time isn't going to be the miracle you need to pull this off any more than it was the previous 5 times".

    1. JimC

      Re: Advice? No thanks.

      Plus of course, the ultimate sin, not having a "can-do" attitude when faced with something that is doomed to fail...

  10. 142

    A lot of probably justified cynicism here.

    But I think it's possibly slightly misdirected.

    Hassabis has never appeared like a Google drone. He's kept DeepMind as something of a rogue entity within Alphabet, and he's refused to take on other roles in Google.

    He's taken this role as an honour (the guy's "for king and country" in a 1930s sense) and for DeepMind. I very much doubt he's pushing Google messaging in these meetings as such.

    Whether this is better or worse, I'm not sure. DeepMind's is a hell of a lot more unnerving in the long term than mainstream Google.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI ?

    What?

    I want my Flying Car first!

  12. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Sir Humphrey Appleby...

    ...is alive and well, it seems.

  13. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "leading Google's project to build software more powerful than the human brain"

    Software more powerful than the human brain from a development culture responsible for the torrent of bugs in Android? I suppose it depends whose brain they're thinking of...

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