LinkedIn billionaire co-founder Reid Hoffman, DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, and former DeepMind AI researcher Dr Karén Simonyan announced on Tuesday the launch of a new startup called Inflection AI.
Suleyman (pictured on the right) has been appointed CEO of the new Silicon Valley-headquartered venture, which aims to develop a new suite of AI technologies that will make it easier for humans to communicate with machines.
“Recent advances in artificial intelligence promise to fundamentally redefine human-machine interaction,” said Suleyman in a statement.
“We will soon have the ability to relay our thoughts and ideas to computers using the same natural, conversational language we use to communicate with people. Over time these new language capabilities will revolutionise what it means to have a digital experience.”
AI-powered virtual assistants, such as Alexa or Siri, have advanced our daily interactions with machines but Inflection wants to develop software that will enable machines to seamlessly understand natural human language as opposed to set voice commands.
Inflection AI is the first company that both Suleyman and Hoffman have cofounded after Google’s acquisition of DeepMind for over $500 million in 2014 and LinkedIn’s sale to Microsoft for $26.2 billion in 2016.
“AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time,” Hoffman said in a statement shared with CNBC. “Mustafa has been at the forefront of some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence. It’s a privilege to join him and Karen in building Inflection.”
The company is being backed and incubated by Greylock Ventures, a venture capital firm Suleyman joined as a Venture Partner just 47 days prior to the Inflection AI launch and where Hoffman, now a General Partner, has been since 2009.
Hoffman has a long interest in AI having graduated from Stanford University in 1990 with a degree in symbolic systems and cognitive science. He is an early investor in OpenAI and helped set up the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, a research and philanthropy institute between MIT and Harvard University. He is also on the board of the Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence institute at Stanford University.
The main brain behind Inflection AI’s software will be Simonyan, who has been appointed as Chief Scientist. Suleyman has labelled him as “one of the leading deep leading experts of his generation” adding that “he created the deep learning scaling team at DeepMind and player a key role in such breakthroughs as AlphaZero, AlphaFold, WaveNet, and BigGAN”. Simonyan had sold his company Vision Factory to Google’s DeepMind in late 2014.
“Throughout the history of computing, humans have had to learn to speak the language of machines. In the new paradigm, machines will understand our language,” said Suleyman, who added: “There will be more details in months to come on our product plans.”