Google just upped its bid to get to the forefront of artificial intelligence research through the acqui-hire of two British AI companies and a subsequent partnership with Oxford University.
The companies focus on deep learning for natural language understanding and visual recognition systems, respectively and several of the founders work at Oxford University. Google is not only letting them continue to teach part time, but is making a “substantial donation” to the Computer Science and Engineering departments there to solidify a research partnership.
“We are thrilled to welcome these extremely talented machine learning researchers to the Google DeepMind team and are excited about the potential impact of the advances their research will bring,” Google’s VP of Engineering, Demis Hassabis writes.
So what exactly is Google trying to do with artificial intelligence? Well, that’s not entirely clear yet. DeepMind’s website says it’s using machine learning and systems neuroscience to build “powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.” Whether it will build something new with those algorithms, or bake them into its current projects, like self-driving cars or giant robots, remains to be seen.