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Google’s AI unit DeepMind swallows £1.6bn as losses proceed

Google’s UK-based synthetic intelligence unit DeepMind misplaced half a billion kilos final 12 months, an identical determine to 2018, and its father or mother firm Alphabet wrote off an extra £1.1bn in debt, based on its newest accounts.

The figures underline the massive funding that Google continues to make within the London-based AI workforce that it acquired in 2014 for about £400m, with essentially the most proficient machine-learning researchers capable of command enormous salaries.

DeepMind’s revenues, that are derived totally from making use of its know-how to business Google initiatives comparable to making its knowledge centres extra vitality environment friendly and bettering the voice of its digital assistant, elevated 158 per cent in 2019 to £265.5m in 2019.

However turnover was as soon as once more dwarfed by pre-tax losses of £460.9m, down 2 per cent on 2018. Administration bills — which embody workers and infrastructure prices — grew 26 per cent to £717m.

As well as, DeepMind mentioned that its father or mother firm had “waived the compensation” of loans and curiosity totalling £1.1bn, which had accrued over latest years.

“In the course of the interval coated by these accounts, DeepMind laid the foundations for our groundbreaking ends in protein construction prediction — a 50-year grand problem in biology and collaborated with groups throughout Google to ship real-world affect at scale,” a DeepMind spokesperson mentioned.

“Our groups have been concerned in an enormous vary of initiatives, from bettering the predictability of wind energy to accelerating ecological analysis within the Serengeti. We’re excited to construct on this unprecedented progress as we head into subsequent 12 months.”

DeepMind’s filings make solely obscure allusions to the controversial switch of its well being division to Google final 12 months. Streams, a London-based workforce of greater than 100 workers, had a five-year partnership with 10 Nationwide Well being Service hospitals to course of 1.6m sufferers’ medical knowledge, elevating privateness issues when the unit was handed over to Google. DeepMind mentioned on the time that the info used within the Streams mission would stay below NHS management after the switch.

The newest filings revealed to the UK’s Firms Home registry on Thursday refer obliquely to the switch of “distributed mental property belongings which had a zero ebook worth” to a different Alphabet firm, accomplished on October 31 2019.

Regardless of the continued losses, Google has mentioned it’ll proceed to offer monetary help to DeepMind and the group, whose headquarters are in London’s King’s Cross, is just not anticipated to show a revenue anytime quickly.

“I’m very pleased with the tempo at which our R&D on AI is progressing,” Sundar Pichai, chief govt of Alphabet and Google, advised traders and analysts on July’s quarterly earnings name. “I’m excited on the tempo at which our engineering and R&D groups are working each throughout Google and DeepMind.”

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