Google’s AI department DeepMind turned a profit for the first time ever in 2020 as turnover soared to £868m.
Profits stood at £44m in 2020, up from a loss of £477m a year prior, as annual turnover jumped by more than £560m from £266m in 2019.
The results, posted on Companies’ House, give the first indication that Google’s £400m acquisition of DeepMind is paying off with parent company Alphabet forced to write off £1.1bn of debt for the AI lab in 2019.
In a statement, Deepmind said “machine learning research and application is an emerging market characterised by continuous change and intense competition.
Hinting that the company may not stay out of the red for long the statement added, “the Company will continue to face risks and uncertainties, which may have an significant impact on its ability to achieve continued success within its market.”
Established in 2010 by former video game developer and child chess prodigy Demis Hassabis the company develops machine learning tools. The company’s AlphaGo program was the first to beat a professional Go player putting the lab at the cutting edge of AI.
The surge in profits comes after DeepMind last year debuted AI technology that could predict the shape of a human proteins. The advance was seen as a major breakthrough for drug discovery by scientists and the company used an early version of the technology to map Covid-19.
The commercialisation of DeepMind’s AI technology came with a heavy price tag and saw staff costs rise to £780m while academic donations and sponsorships fell to £5.2m.