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Google Consolidates AI-focused DeepMind, Research Teams

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Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the consolidation of AI model development teams within Google’s DeepMind unit.

Google announced that it will consolidate two internal teams focused on building artificial intelligence (AI) models.

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a blog post on the company’s website that explained the decision to consolidate teams that build AI models within the Google DeepMind team, including teams from the company’s Research division. Google DeepMind was created last year through the merger of the Google Brain team with DeepMind and other researchers focused on AI systems.

Pichai said that the move “helped accelerate our Gemini models” and unified machine learning (ML) infrastructure and developer teams: “The progress in just one year has been incredible: Gemini models are seen as leaders and keep getting better. And our successive breakthroughs have put us on a path to deliver the world’s most advanced, safe, and responsible AI.”

“To accelerate this progress, we will consolidate the teams focusing on building models across Research and GoogleDeepMind. All of this work will now sit in Google DeepMind and scale our capacity to deliver capable AI for our users, partners and customers,” Pichai explained. “This will simplify development by concentrating compute-intensive model building in one place and establishing single access points for PAs looking to take these models and build generative AI applications.”

“This change also gives Google Research a clear and distinct mandate to continue investing in foundational and applied computer science research in three key areas that tie directly to Google’s mission: computing systems (including quantum), foundational ML and algorithm, and applied science and society,” Pichai wrote.

“Fundamental computer science research is in our DNA and we have some of the world’s best computer scientists,” he added. “We simply would not be the company we are today without the researchers who developed the foundations on which all Google’s products are built and are now inventing the foundations for our future.”

Google is also moving its Responsible AI teams from Research to DeepMind to “be closer to where the models are built and scaled.” It also moved other responsibility teams into its central Trust and Safety team, where the company invests more in AI testing and evaluations.

“We need to be the best in class at deploying accurate, trustworthy, and transparent AI products for users and customers,” Pichai wrote.

Pichai’s comments come after Google Gemini sparked controversy with biased responses when prompted with political or charged social topics. The company paused Gemini’s image generation feature after Gemini was shown to be creating historically inaccurate images that sometimes replaced White people with images of Black, Native American and Asian people. Pichai said the images were “biased” and “completely unacceptable.”

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Pichai referenced the need to ensure Google’s AI products are objective as well as the need to keep political disputes out of the workplace after an incident last week in which 28 employees were fired after staging a sit-in to protest the company’s ties to Israel amid the war against Hamas.

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“We have a vibrant, open discussion culture that enables us to create amazing products and turn great ideas into action. That’s important to preserve,” Pichai wrote. “But ultimately, we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: this is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics. This moment is too important for us as a company to be distracted.”

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