DeepMind’s mounting losses show why it’s hard to run an AI research lab

Last week, on the heels of DeepMind’s breakthrough in using artificial intelligence to predict protein folding came the news that the UK-based AI company is still costing its parent company Alphabet Inc hundreds of millions of dollars in losses each year.

A tech company losing money is nothing new. The tech industry is replete with examples of companies who burned investor money long before becoming profitable. But DeepMind is not a normal company seeking to grab a share of a specific market. It is an AI research lab that has had to repurpose itself into a semi-commercial outfit to ensure its survival.

And while its owner, which is also the parent company of Google, is currently happy with footing the bill for DeepMind’s expensive AI research, it is not guaranteed that it will continue to do so forever.

DeepMind’s profits and losses