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Google buys British startup DeepMind

LONDON — Google has purchased the British startup DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company founded by a 37-year old former chess prodigy and computer game designer.

The American tech giant’s London office confirmed a deal had been made but refused to offer a purchase price, which was reportedly $500 million. The company was founded by researcher Demis Hassabis together with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

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Hassabis, who is on leave from University College London, has investigated the mechanisms that underlie human memory.

Artificial intelligence uses computers for tasks normally requiring human intelligence, like speech recognition or language translation. DeepMind says the company, based in London, specializes in algorithms and machine learning.

Google, like other tech giants such as Facebook, is anxious to develop systems that work like the human brain.

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