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Google's DeepMind acquisition might be about search, not robots

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Having just wrapped up a robot shopping spree, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Google might want to give those robots some brains. However, that might not be the primary goal of the company's purchase of AI company DeepMind Technologies yesterday. According to Recode, which first broke the news of the acqusition, the new talent will actually be reporting to Google search guru Jeff Dean, not the company's robot boss Andy Rubin. Moreover, the publication reports that at least two of DeepMind's former projects might have been up that alley: "a smarter recommendation system for online commerce, and something to do with images." Jeff Dean was recently seen training a 16,000 core neural network how to recognize cats on YouTube.

According to The Information, DeepMind required that Google create a joint Google / DeepMind ethics board as a condition of the deal, which would create rules for what Google could do with the technology. If true that DeepMind talent will focus on search, it paints that idea in a different light. The ethical considerations could be more about privacy, and less about making sure robots don't rise up against humankind.