The co-founder of DeepMind, the artificial intelligence research company acquired by Google in 2014, has been placed on leave, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday that raised questions about his role within the controversial group.
The report did not provide any information on the reason that Mustafa Suleyman, the DeepMind co-founder, was put on leave by the company.
A DeepMind spokesperson told Business Insider that Suleyman was “taking time out right now after 10 hectic years,” a phrasing that suggested the leave of absence was voluntary. The spokesperson said the decision was mutual and that Suleyman was expected to return to the team towards the end of the year.
Suleyman had led the company’s “applied” division, which sought practical applications AI research in fields like health and energy, according to Bloomberg.
Previously at the UK-based DeepMind, Suleyman helped build the company’s controversial health division, which, in one project geared towards kidney research, was found to have improperly obtained access to 1.6 million patients health records. In November 2018, Deep Mind Health was folded into Google Health and Suleyman left his post running the division’s daily operations, according to the report.
Founded in London in 2010 by Suleyman, Shane Legg, and its current CEO, Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s mission is to “solve intelligence” by creating learning systems that can answer some of the hardest questions in science. In 2014, Google purchased the AI company for 400 million pounds.