Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind

Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, in caricature

Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, is one of the genuine demigods of the modern AI Pantheon.

2nd highest ranked chess player in the world (for his age) at age 12 (second, of note, to a woman of decent fame: Judit Polgar, daughter of  László Polgár,)

worked as a high-school intern for famed game designer Peter Molyneux, the genius who pioneered the “God Game” genre of videogames. As such, Molyneux spearheaded the design of legendary games Populus, Dungeon Keeper, and most importantly Black & White and its spiritual child, Fable.

Founded DeepMind (2012) with the goal of using videogames as a measurable proving ground for AI development techniques.

Initial Angels included Elon Musk and Peter Theil.

First formal demonstration was a general-purpose game playing AI that learned to optimize a strategy for Atari Breakout.

Google agreed to acquire DeepMind for $500 million in

In 2015, DeepMind’s AlphaZero destroyed the entire ecosystem of Computer Chess Engines (AlphaZero has refused to play since; there is substantial debates in the expert online Chess community whether it could hold its own against the latest build of StockFish, the reigning Computer Chess World Champion).

In 2017, DeepMind’s AlphaGo beat the reigning human World Go Champion Lee Sedol in a lopsided 4-1 landslide. Due to the very high complexity of the game of Go (a 19×19 binary grid) most experts in both the fields of AI and Go had not expected such a victory until 2025 at the earliest. The impossibility of “solving” Go logically requires the machine to move both intuitively and creatively. Sedol was quoted as saying of one of AlphaGo’s genius-class moves: “The was genuinely beautiful.” Such praise from the world’s best is not to go without notice, and echoes Kasparov’s assessment of Deep Blue in his 1997 loss: “The Machine showed genuine flashes of both genius, genuine innovation, and human-level creativity.”

DeepMind, under the leadership of Demis Hassabis, is responsible for the ChatGPT-equivalent Sparrow LLM AI, but has refused to release it to the public. Rumors are that, as a subsidiary of Google, they are more vulnerable to reputation damage (from hallucination & racism, amongst other criticisms) than OpenAI, a more agile startup without the baggage of a trillion-dollar global parent company.