Tue. May 24th, 2022


Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind, left Google after seven years in which the pioneering British operation made breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, but struggled to ensure that its technology would be used ethically by its giant American owner.

Suleyman was one of three founders of DeepMind, which was founded in 2010 in the United Kingdom and was bought by Google in 2014 for $ 500m. On Thursday, he left the company to become a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Greylock, following a sometimes controversial tenure that included complaints from staff of an aggressive management style.

The DeepMind division searched work at arm’s length of its owner, maintains a research ethos that has isolated him from commercial pressure and tries to come up with a management structure for his powerful AI.

DeepMind’s first attempt to create an independent AI ethics board to oversee its work was slow to begin, and the company later made an unsuccessful attempt to carve out a legal structure that would give it more independence within Google. give.

Speak in a interview recorded with Greylock partner Reid Hoffman being released on Thursday, Suleyman said: “We made a lot of mistakes in the way we tried to set up the board, and I’m not sure we can say it was definitely successful, but I do believe that radical experimentation is essential here. ”

“We experimented with different degrees of oversight, with different ethical charters, with types of research,” he added.

But he said of the technology industry’s broader efforts in this area: “I definitely feel that we have not really come close to cracking this nut of how we make technology platforms, software and of course AI feel like it’s happening to people, and where people have a significant influence in shaping how it comes into their world and not just happening to people. ”

Google itself has struggled with how to introduce controls and balances to the development of AI. His plan for an independent AI ethics council established on staff protests against the composition of the body and the company’s two heads of AI ethics left the company amid reproach over his handling of their work.

Suleyman lost some of his responsibilities following complaints from DeepMind workers about his management style, and he moved to take a stand at Google’s headquarters in California.

Addressing the staff complaints, he said: “I really messed up. I was very demanding and quite relentless. ” He added that he had set “fairly unreasonable expectations” which led to a very rough environment for some people. I remain very sorry for the impact that people have caused and the hurt that people have felt there. ”

DeepMind, led by co-founder Demis Hassabis, confirmed his reputation as one of the leaders in deep learning in 2016 when one of his systems became the world champion at the board game Go.

His 2020 research using AI to predict how proteins fold in various forms has been announced as a breakthrough that could lead to advances in areas such as drug discovery.

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