When you’re a big acquisition-hungry corporation like Google, sometimes you make mistakes — you pay billions for bug-riddled Nest technology, for example. But really, you’ve got accept such losses as inevitable when you’re pursuing the big, infrequent pay-offs that only modern technology can provide. Increasingly, it’s becoming clear that the $500 million acquisition of DeepMind, which signaled to many observers the true beginning of AI as a major technology industry, is one such winning investment. Not only can Google rent out the company’s services for enormous profit, competing with other major machine learning entrants like Amazon for a quickly growing market share, but it can also use DeepMind’s insights to improve its own competitive advantage.
This week, Google announced that DeepMind researchers have allowed them to take an incredible step forward in the energy efficiency of their data centers. DeepMind was able to analyze their performance and recommend a number of improvements in the placement and use of things like windows and cooling units. The practice saved Google “percentage points” on their use of power — and since Google’s data centers usemultiple gigawatt-hours of power each year, that’s nothing to sneeze at.