Inside DeepMind’s epic mission to solve science’s trickiest problem
Demis Hassabis – former child chess prodigy, recipient of a double first at the University of Cambridge, five times World Mind Sports Olympiad champion, MIT and Harvard alumnus, games designer, teenage entrepreneur, and co-founder of the artificial intelligence startup DeepMind – is dressed in a yellow helmet, a hi-viz jacket and worker’s boots. Raising his hand to shield his eyes, he gazes across London from a rooftop in King’s Cross. The view is largely uninterrupted in every direction across the capital, which is bathed in spring sunshine. Hassabis crosses the paved roof and, having used his phone to determine the direction, scans his eyes northwards to see if he can see Finchley, where he spent his childhood. The suburb is lost behind trees on Hampstead Heath, but he is able to make out the incline leading to Highgate, where he now lives with his family.