Is the rise of the machines nearly upon us?  It maybe nearer than you think, as Google’s latest acquisition is in line with their recent purchases of seven robotics firms, including Industrial Perception, which specialises in machines that can package goods and Mekabot, which makes humanoid robots.  However, as an alternative to being used in the robotics division, it is more likely that the acquisition of DeepMind will be used to further improve Google’s current technologies – including the voice and text search features which are so widely used today.

Google Acquires AI Firm DeepMind For $240 Million

DeepMind’s technology could help develop Google’s most recent ‘Hummingbird’ search update, which was created to make Google ‘more human’ and searches can now understand context, very similarly to what a human brain does.  In addition to its ‘Hummingbird’ search update, the Google Now app uses ‘predictive analysis’ which enables it to predict what Android users will do next, before offering relevant help and information at each step without ever being asked to do so.

The company was set up by neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with Artificial Intelligence experts Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.  The company website states DeepMind uses ‘the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.’   They have previously created algorithms for retailers and game creators. A Report from The Information states that Facebook had also been in negotiations to buy the startup.

Interestingly, Google has agreed to set up an ethics board to make sure the DeepMind AI technology isn’t ‘abused’, sources familiar with the plans told The Information.  The DeepMind-Google ethics board will be set up to create a series of rules and restrictions over the use of the technology.  This seems all too familiar.  Remember Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics?

Google also hired futurist Ray Kurzweil as Engineering Director back in 2012.  Kurzweil has famously claimed that in just over 30 years time, humans will be able to upload their minds to computers and thereby become digitally immortal, an event called ‘singularity’.  He also claimed the biological parts of our body will be replaced with mechanical parts and this could happen as early as 2100.  So maybe the rise of the machines is imminent.  Cue Terminator music…

[Image via gizmodo]