Timeline of DeepMind
|Time period||Development summary|
|2010–2014||DeepMind initiates as a British AI startup. Before being acquired by Google, it remains relatively unknown.|
|Since 2014||Google's DeepMind era. The acquired company starts being known worldwide. Since being acquired by Google, DeepMind's AI would be used to beat humans at board games and create free apps with the British National Health Service.|
|Since 2016||DeepMind becomes renowned after its AlphaGo program beats a human professional Go player for the first time and again when AlphaGo beats Lee Sedol, the world champion, in a five-game match.|
|Present time||DeepMind is considered today one of the leading AI companies in the world. It has a team of around 700 people, with most of those based out of Google's headquarters in King's Cross, London.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|1997||Prelude||British student Demis Hassabis, a chess child prodigy, attains a double first in Computer Science at Cambridge University.|
|2009||Prelude||Demis Hassabis attains a doctorate in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London.|
|2010||September||Creation||DeepMind Technologies is co-founded by Demis Hassabis alongside Shane Legg, a machine learning researcher from New Zealand, and childhood friend Mustafa Suleyman.|
|2011||February 1||Funding||DeepMind raises an undisclosed amount from Founders Fund and Horizons Ventures.|
|2012||December||Acquisition||Facebook reportedly fails to acquire DeepMind, according to Forbes. Discussions between DeepMind and Facebook about the acquisition happen around this time.|
|2013||December||AI development||DeepMind reveals having developed an AI algorithm able to learn how to play iconic early video games like Breakout and Pong simply by watching them being played on a vintage 1977 Atari 2600 games console. The algorithm deduces the rules and rewards from the way the pixels are batted about the screen, then it is able to beat human opponents at playing the games.|
|2013||December||Team||DeepMind reportedly has around 75 employees.|
|2014||January 27||Acquisition||Google engages in its largest European acquisition to date with a deal to buy DeepMind for £400 million (US$650 million). From then on, DeepMind starts becoming known worldwide.|
|2014||October 29||AI development||DeepMind unveils a neural network that can access an external memory like a conventional Turing machine. The project mimics properties of the human brain's short-term working memory. The result is a computer able to mimic some of the brain’s memory skills and even program like a human.|
|2014||Recognition||DeepMind receives the "Company of the Year" award from Cambridge Computer Laboratory.|
|2015||June||Notable quote||Mustafa Suleyman describes DeepMind's work during a machine learning conference in London: "Our deep learning tool has now been deployed in many environments, particularly across Google in many of our production systems."|
|2015||September||Partnership||DeepMind partners with the Royal Free NHS Trust to develop a patient safety application aimed at reviewing test results for signs of sickness and sending staff instant alerts if an urgent assessment is required. The app would also help clinicians to quickly check for other serious conditions such as acute kidney injury and display results of blood tests, scans, and x-rays at the touch of a button.|
|2015||October||Achievement||DeepMind's AlphaGo beats the European Go champion Fan Hui, a 2 dan (out of 9 dan possible) professional, five to zero. This is the first time an artificial intelligence defeats a professional Go player.|
|2015||February 25||AI development||DeepMind develops an artificial intelligence capable of learning how to successfully play 49 classic Atari games by itself, with minimal input. The researchers claim software that learns to play video games could graduate to the real world before long.|
|2016||February||Partnership||DeepMind announces that it is teaming with the National Health Service to build an app called Streams to help hospital staff monitor patients with kidney disease.|
|2016||February 24||Team||DeepMind launches a new division called DeepMind Health, an initiative aimed at creating apps for medical professionals that can help identify patients at risk of complications.|
|2016||April||Controversy||New Scientist obtains a copy of a data-sharing agreement between DeepMind and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The latter operates three London hospitals where an estimated 1.6 million patients are treated annually. The agreement shows DeepMind Health had access to admissions, discharge and transfer data, accident and emergency, pathology and radiology, and critical care at these hospitals, including personal details such as whether patients have been diagnosed with HIV, suffered from depression or have ever undergone an abortion in order to conduct research to seek better outcomes in various health conditions.|
|2016||June 3||AI development||DeepMind develops a ‘big red button’ to stop AIs from causing harm, using a framework in the form of "safely interruptible" artificial intelligence. It guarantees that a machine will not learn to resist attempts by humans to intervene in its learning processes.. The system is described in a paper by Laurent Orseau from DeepMind and Stuart Armstrong from the Future of Humanity Institute.|
|2016||July||AI development||DeepMind announces the ability to cut Google's data centers' energy consumption by 15%, using a machine learning algorithm.|
|2016||August 30||Partnership||DeepMind announces a partnership with University College London Hospital to explore using artificial intelligence to treat patients with head and neck cancers. The goal is to develop tools to automatically identify cancerous cells for radiology machines.|
|2016||September 9||AI development||DeepMind claims having significantly improved computer-generated speech with its new system called WaveNet, an AI technology making machines sound more like humans. The system generates voices by sampling real human speech and directly modeling audio waveforms based on it, as well as its previously generated audio.|
|2016||October 12||AI development||DeepMind unveils an AI “working memory” able to learn how to solve tasks for itself, such as how best to get from A to B on the London tube network. The AI combines both data processing with self-learning code. The new algorithm is able to retain information in its memory and use its learnings to solve problems in some areas.|
|2016||November 4||Partnership||DeepMind teams with Blizzard Entertainment to release an open test environment within the StarCraft II game for artificial intelligence researchers to use worldwide. DeepMind would use deep reinforcement learning to develop an AI agent that can play StarCraft II effectively.|
|2016||November 22||Partnership||DeepMind announces a five-year agreement with a UK National Health Service trust that would give it access to patient data to develop and deploy its healthcare app, Streams. The agreement lasts until at least 2021.|
|2016||December 5||Userbase||DeepMind announces open-sourcing DeepMind Lab, its 3D game-like platform for agent-based AI research, so that others can try and make advances in the field of AI. The DeepMind Lab project was used to create enviroments capable of testing AI systems’ ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments. Tasks such as navigation in mazes, collecting fruit, traversing dangerous passages, laser tag and interaction with bots have been developed to refine the programs. The development of mazes and challenges were designed using video game Quake III Arena’s 17-year-old software, to teach its artificial intelligence programs how to operate in 3D spaces.|
|2017||January||Collaboration||DeepMind's experts pledge to pass on their knowledge to students enrolled on machine learning master's programs at University College London.|
|2017||March||AI development||DeepMind announces development of a new way to protect confidential health data from itself, in an attempt to assure hospitals, and the public at large, that patient confidentiality isn’t compromised as DeepMind processes the sensitive medical health records entrusted to it.|
|2017||March||AI development||DeepMind develops algorithms that can anticipate energy demand and supply, with the potential to cut the United Kingdom energy consumption by up to 10%.|
|2017||April 17||Userbase||DeepMind open sources TensorFlow library Sonnet, its object-oriented neural network library. Sonnet is a higher-level library that meshes well with DeepMind’s internal best-practices for research.|
|2017||May||Controversy||Sky News publishes a leaked letter from the National Data Guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott, revealing that in her "considered opinion" the data-sharing agreement between DeepMind and the Royal Free took place on an "inappropriate legal basis".|
|2017||June||Partnership||DeepMind’s safety team partners wit OpenAi in the development of an algorithm which can infer what humans want by being told which of two proposed behaviors is better. The learning algorithm uses small amounts of human feedback to solve modern reinforcement learning environments.|
|2017||July||International expansion||DeepMind announces its first international research lab in Edmonton, Canada.|
|2017||July||Controversy||The UK Information Commissioner's Office rules that the Royal Free has breached the Data Protection Act by providing DeepMind with the personal data of around 1.6 million patients.|
|2017||Kuly 10||AI development||DeepMind uses reinforcement learning to master parkour, using a virtual course designed by the researchers which features drops, hurdles, and ledges. All of the navigation is self-taught by the AI using a trial-and-error approach to working out how to move forward and progress across the course as fast as possible.|
|2017||July 19||AI development||DeepMind releases a paper describing new developments for "imagination-based planning" to AI and algorithms that simulate the human ability to construct plans. The AI can reason through decisions and make plans for the future, without being bound by human instructions.|
|2017||October 4||Team||DeepMind launches DeepMind Ethics & Society (DMES), a new research group recruiting advisers from academia and charity sector with the purpose to ‘help technologists put ethics into practice’ and help coping with artificial intelligence to consider the “real-world impacts” of replicating human intelligence. The group consists of six independent research fellows, eight full-time researchers, and nine partnerships with other research institutions. It would explore topics such as algorithmic bias, accountability, and autonomous killing machines.|
|2017||October 18||AI development||DeepMind announces AlphaGo Zero, a software capable of mastering the Chinese game of Go without help from human players. The new version is an improvement on the original AlphaGo, which had to be trained over time using large quantities of human knowledge and supervision.|
|2017||October 20||Recognition||The DeepMind team behind AlphaGo is awarded the inaugural Marvin Minsky Medal by the International Joint Conference On Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Stockholm, for outstanding achievements in the field of AI.|
|2017||November||Partnership||DeepMind announces a research partnership with the Cancer Research UK Center at Imperial College London with the goal of improving breast cancer detection by applying machine learning to mammography.|
|2017||December 5||AI development||DeepMind team introduces AlphaZero, a program using generalized AlphaGo Zero's approach, which achieved within 24 hours a superhuman level of play in chess, shogi, and Go, defeating world-champion programs, Stockfish, Elmo, and 3-day version of AlphaGo Zero in each case.|
|2018||February||Partnership||DeepMind announces that it is teaming with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in an attempt to use machine learning to predict the onset of acute kidney injury in patients, and also more broadly the general deterioration of patients during a hospital stay so that doctors and nurses can more quickly treat patients in need.|
|2018||February||AI development||DeepMind develops an artificial intelligence capable of an ability that most children only develop at around age 4, which is to infer what someone else is thinking. This new technology is thought to have useful application in the future, from warfare to elderly care.|
|2018||May 9||AI development||DeepMind develops a neural network loosely modeled on mammalian brains, that is better at navigating a maze than humans.|
|2018||June 14||AI development||DeepMind develops a neural network that teaches itself to ‘imagine’ a scene from different viewpoints, based on just a single image. The new type of computer vision algorithm can generate 3D models of a scene from 2D snapshots, unraveling details from the static images and solving spatial relationships, including the camera’s position. Dubbed a Generative Query Network (GQN), the system gets rid of labels and focuses on what's known as unsupervised learning.|
|2018||June 15||Controversy||The DeepMind Health Independent Reviewers’ 2018 report warns about the potential for DeepMind Health to be able to “exert excessive monopoly power” as a result of the data access and streaming infrastructure that’s bundled with provision of the Streams app, which would position DeepMind as the access-controlling intermediary between the structured health data and any other third parties.|
|2018||June 26||Demis Hassabis is enlisted by the British government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as an adviser to the Government’s new Office for Artificial Intelligence.|
|2018||November 19||Partnership||DeepMind partners with OpenAI in a new paper that proposes a new method to train reinforcement learning agents in ways that enables them to surpass human performance. The paper, titled Reward learning from human preferences and demonstrations in Atari, introduces a training model that combines human feedback and reward optimization to maximize the knowledge of RL agents.|
|2018||July||AI development||Researchers from DeepMind train one of its systems to play the famous computer game Quake III Arena.|
|2018||July 11||AI development||DeepMind presents a paper titled "Measuring abstract reasoning in neural networks", which details its attempt to measure various AIs’ abstract reasoning capabilities, much like IQ tests for humans.|
|2018||July 18||Commitment||DeepMind, along with tech leaders, including Elon Musk, sign a pledge promising to not develop “lethal autonomous weapons.” They also call on governments to institute laws against such technology. The pledge is organized by the Future of Life Institute, an outreach group focused on tackling existential risks.|
|2018||August 13||AI development||DeepMind announces an AI capable of detecting over 50 eye diseases and making correct diagnoses 94.5% of the time after trial with Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.|
|2018||September 26||Partnership||DeepMind announces a partnership with Unity Technologies with the purpose to accelerate machine learning and artificial intelligence research. The new collaboration would focus on "virtual environments" that DeepMind can use to test and visualize experimental algorithms.|
|2018||October 4||AI development||DeepMind furthers cancer research and announces having been given access to mammograms from roughly 30,000 women that were taken at Jikei University Hospital in Tokyo, Japan between 2007 and 2018. The data would be used to refine DeepMind's AI breast cancer detection algorithms.|
|2018||November 13||Team||Google announces DeepMind’s health care unit to be absorbed to the holding company to create an ‘AI assistant for nurses and doctors’.|
|2018||November 19||AI development||DeepMind safety research team publishes a paper on scalable agent alignment via reward modeling. The paper gives a summary of a research direction for solving the agent alignment problem.|
|2018||December 2||AI development||DeepMind unveils AlphaFold, an algorithm able to predict the complex, three-dimensional shapes into which proteins can be folded. The prediction is based solely on their genetic sequence.|
|2018||December||Notable quote||Demis Hassabis announces: "I'd be much more pessimistic about the way the world is going to go if I didn't know there was something as game-changing as AI on the way."|
|2019||February||Achievement||DeepMind's AI AlphaStar is revealed to outperform human professionals at StarCraft II, beating the humans 10 games in a row.|
|2019||February||AI development||DeepMind develops an algorithm aimed at boosting wind energy efficiency. Google reports having increased energy production by 20% after installing its own AI software across its largest renewable energy facilities in the United States.|
|2019||April||Team||Google disbands the advisory board for DeepMind Health. It is the second disbanded review panel related to Alphabet's AI dealings.|
|2019||April||AI development||DeepMind researchers develop an AI tasked with teaching itself to solve arithmetic, algebra and probability problems, among others. However, the neural network performs poorly when tested on a maths exam taken by 16-year-olds in the United Kingdom, getting just 14 out of 40 questions correct, or the equivalent of an E grade.|
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