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What is Google DeepMind – and What Can It Do?

Let's take a look at the mechanisms behind Google DeepMind and some of the incredible contributions it's already made to society
Last Updated on June 9, 2023
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Google DeepMind, formerly known as DeepMind Technologies, is originally a British AI research laboratory founded in 2010 by Demis Hassabis and Shane Legg. It was later acquired by Google in 2014 and became a subsidiary of Alphabet inc, the parent company of Google. The company is currently based in London with several research centers in the United States, Canada, and France.

DeepMind is an AI technology that focuses on using reinforcement learning to help scientists solve complex problems that computers have yet been unable to solve. This technology is already in use in various areas of life today, such as predicting the different ways protein structures can fold themselves into functional shapes and beating humans at the board games Go, chess, and Shogi. 

This technology is also used in optimizing phone battery life and reducing energy use at computing data centers. Since its inception in 2010, the company DeepMind has developed various AI technologies that help in identifying eye diseases, beating professional players at a variety of games, and more. Put simply, Google DeepMind seeks to use the capabilities of AI algorithms to solve problems that widely benefit humanity. 

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How Does DeepMind Work? 

The DeepMind system is based primarily on an artificial neural network. It was designed as a network of nodes that resemble how the neurons in a human brain are connected. This system uses a convolutional neural network organized just like the human visual cortex, takes pixel data as input, and then learns from experience.

While controversy still surrounds artificial intelligence, Google as a company has made strides to set up and enhance its AI capacity in a range of areas. For example, this technology has been trained to learn the best strategies for a variety of games. When it was tasked to play and beat an array of 49 Atari games, the technology learned the games and played them without cheating by changing the game codes. Soon after, the AI mastered the games and was even able to beat humans at them. 

The AI was also tasked with defeating a human opponent in the board game GO, the oldest board game known to humankind, on its own. After several attempts and a supervised learning process, their AlphaGO algorithm was able to beat a professional GO player in one high-profile case that was described as being a decade ahead of its time.

What Can DeepMind Do? 

This AI technology has proven beyond doubt that can help solve complex problems and operate within a wide variety of complex conditional situations. However, it has proven itself recently to also be indispensable in the fields of biology, diagnostic medicine, navigation, app development, and image generation. Here are just some of the remarkable  things that this AI can do:

Create Images

DeepMind AI can create its original realistic images without copying them from another source. The researchers tasked with creating a database for the AI technology used ImageNet as a source for the deep reinforcement learning process and provided real images as samples for the AI to learn. Later on, the neural network was trained to generate its images not only from the database but to generate real-world images on its own.

Navigate Without a Map 

This is one of the notable achievements of DeepMind AI. It can navigate through a city without using a map. While this is considered a simple task to humans, the mechanisms used by our brains to achieve this are quite complex. 

The AI was tasked to navigate through major cities and get to a specific location without a map on its own. To achieve this, the AI was tasked to move through its virtual location with a first-person view obtained from Google Street View Images. After several attempts, the AI mastered the different routes to get to different destinations as if it was a native of the city.

Strategically out-reason Humans 

Did you know that this AI technology has also out-smarted human beings? DeepMind has been tried and tested at beating humans in various tasks, especially in playing board games like chess, or computer games such as the Atari. It has also learned how to work well in a team of humans. 

Furthermore, Deepmind has been able to beat humans in Quake III Arena’s Capture the Flag matches. Strikingly, it was able to work cooperatively alongside other human teams to beat other opponents in the same game.

Learn How to Walk on Its Own

A video emerged of the AI neural network learning how to walk on its own. The AI was given controlled parameters for torque-controlled virtual bodies that included a specific number of joints and free-moving limbs with a certain degree of flexibility. The setup of the virtual environment was generated periodically with an array of obstacle types, including gaps and hurdles.

Detect Eye Diseases Better than Doctors 

We can all agree that technology has revolutionized the medical industry. With the help of various technological advancement tools and software, doctors can now detect and treat ailments that were previously considered undetectable or untreatable. 

Google DeepMind applications have also done tremendous things in the healthcare industry. For example, when the technology company partnered with the London-based Moorfields Eye Hospital, the AI was able to learn, detect and diagnose 50 eye diseases, including macular degeneration disease, and glaucoma.

Diagnose Breast Cancer 

In collaboration with Google’s AOI health research team and the Cancer Research U.K Center, AI has played a vital role in the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer amongst women. Cancer is a serious illness that affects people worldwide. Detecting and diagnosing it as early as possible is the most effective approach to overcoming it while prioritizing patient safety. Thanks to the partnership between AI technology and other health research institutions, it is now easy and fast to detect breast cancer.

Optimize app Recommendations in Google Play 

DeepMind has made it possible to personalize app recommendations for users of the Google Play platform. Through the use of its machine learning capabilities, it is easier and faster for users to find other useful apps based on their previous downloads or searches.

Detect Acute Kidney Injury

Streams is a safety alert app that was developed by DeepMind. This app reviews test results for certain illnesses and sends instant messages to the medical staff for urgent closer examination of the patient. Thanks to AI technology, medical practitioners can now easily detect kidney injury and other serious ailments at the touch of a button.

Conclusion

Google DeepMind is not only changing the tech world by introducing smart apps and optimizing technological usage, but it is changing the medical health industry by enabling doctors to detect, diagnose and treat complicated diseases. It seems clear that Artificial Intelligence will continue to revolutionize the modern world.

Peter's keen interest in technology has led him to focus AI and networking for PC Guide, with a view on how to get the best out of both.

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