Google’s DeepMind CEO says the massive funds flowing into AI bring with it loads of hype and a fair share of grifting

Google’s DeepMind CEO says the massive funds flowing into AI bring with it loads of hype and a fair share of grifting
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Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.
Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.

  • The funding bonanza over AI could add lots of hype and “maybe some grifting,” says Demis Hassabis.
  • “In a way, AI’s not hyped enough but in some senses it’s too hyped,” the Google DeepMind chief said.
  • Investors have piled in nearly $30 billion into generative AI deals in 2023, per PitchBook.

Google DeepMind chief Demis Hassabis says the surge in funding for AI “brings with it a whole attendant bunch of hype and maybe some grifting.”

“In a way, AI’s not hyped enough but in some senses it’s too hyped,” Hassabis the Financial Times in a story published Sunday. “We’re talking about all sorts of things that are just not real.”

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The fervor amongst investors for AI, Hassabis told the Financial Times, reminded him of “other hyped-up areas” like crypto.

“Some of that has now spilled over into AI, which I think is a bit unfortunate,” Hassabis told the outlet. “And it clouds the science and the research, which is phenomenal.”

A desire to cash in on the prevailing AI boom has seen investors shell out billions of dollars on companies working in the field. Back in September, Amazon announced that it was planning to invest $4 billion in the AI startup, Anthropic.

It’s not just Amazon. According to the financial data provider, PitchBook, investors have piled in nearly $30 billion, across 691 generative AI deals in 2023.

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Fred Havemeyer, Macquarie’s head of US AI and software research told CNBC in March that investors “definitely don’t want to miss out on being part of the AI ecosystem.”

“I definitely think that there’s FOMO in this marketplace,” Havemeyer said.

To be sure, Hassabis’ warnings about possible cases of grifting in AI aren’t unfounded.

In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled charges against two investment advisers who were accused of making “false and misleading statements” about their use of AI.

“We’ve seen time and again that when new technologies come along, they can create buzz from investors as well as false claims from the Professor Hills of the day,” SEC chair Gary Gensler said in a speech in February, referencing a swindler who appears in the movie “The Music Man.”

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“If a company is raising money from the public, though, it needs to be truthful about its use of AI and associated risk,” Gensler continued.

Representatives for Hassabis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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