Deepmind independence in doubt as Google staff switch
GOOGLE looks increasingly at risk of breaking its pledge to keep Deepmind independent, as a Telegraph investigation finds almost a fifth of the artificialintelligence arm’s staff have been moved in from other divisions.
London-based Deepmind is one of Britain’s most successful technology firms of the last decade. It owns an app called Streams that uses NHS patient data to help doctors diagnose and detect illnesses. However, Google’s increasing involvement with the firm has raised questions over privacy.
Research by the Telegraph found around 18pc of Deepmind employees had worked within other Google businesses, including in its driverless car arm Waymo and its artificial-intelligence research team Google Brain.
According to data from Linkedin, 95pc had moved directly from one part of Google, and had held roles ranging from research engineers to strategy focused posts. Only academic institutions provided a larger proportion of staff. The Telegraph understands the Deepmind interview process is the same for all candidates.
When Google bought Deepmind in 2014, it put in place a number of mechanisms to keep the company separate, setting up an independent ethics board and preventing staff from entering the Deepmind levels of the London base.
A spokesman said: “Deepmind is a separate team that operates autonomously within the Alphabet group but we collaborate a lot with many groups at Google.”
Just over two weeks ago, it announced Google was taking control of its healthcare division, moving it under the Google Health umbrella. Deepmind has said patient data would continue to be kept strictly separate.