Demis Hassabis at DeepMind’s headquarters in London on Nov. 3, 2022
James Day for TIME

DeepMind has a long catalog of AI breakthroughs under its belt. The first to build an AI that could best a human master of the ancient Chinese board game Go, it was also the first to build an effective solution to the long-standing protein-­folding problem in biology, which could help unlock solutions to diseases like malaria and cancer. But despite those breakthroughs, parent company Google was caught flat-footed when, in late 2022, Microsoft-backed OpenAI released the wildly popular chatbot ChatGPT. In reaction, Google merged DeepMind with its other AI team, Google Brain, to form Google DeepMind, led by DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, who dreams of building “artificial general intelligence,” or AI that can surpass human performance at most difficult tasks. “In 2010, we were like loners in the desert talking about this with a few other believers,” he told TIME in 2022. “Now it has become mainstream.”

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