Are OpenAI and DeepMind the Same Kind of AI Company?

Table of Contents

OpenAI and DeepMind are both prominent entities in the field of artificial intelligence research, but they are not the same company and have distinct origins, objectives, and operational approaches. Here's a comparative overview:

1. Origin and Ownership:

  • OpenAI: Founded in December 2015, OpenAI began as a non-profit with the mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all of humanity. Over time, to fulfill its mission and ensure adequate funding, it established a for-profit subsidiary, OpenAI LP, which operates under the nonprofit's supervision.
  • DeepMind: Founded in September 2010 by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg, and Mustafa Suleyman, DeepMind is a British AI company. It was acquired by Google in 2014 and later became a part of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company.

2. Mission and Philosophy:

  • OpenAI: OpenAI's charter emphasizes broad benefits, long-term safety, technical leadership, and a cooperative approach. They commit to assisting other projects that come close to building safe AGI before they do.
  • DeepMind: DeepMind's mission is to "solve intelligence and then use that to solve everything else." While they aim to push the boundaries of AI, they also emphasize its safe and ethical deployment.

3. Research Areas and Achievements:

  • OpenAI: OpenAI has been involved in various research areas, from reinforcement learning to natural language processing. Notable projects include the GPT series (like GPT-3), DALL·E (an image generation model), and robotics research.
  • DeepMind: DeepMind has a broad research palette but is particularly known for its work in deep reinforcement learning. Breakthroughs include AlphaGo, which defeated world champions at the game of Go, and AlphaFold, a model that predicts protein structures with remarkable accuracy.

4. Publication and Collaboration:

  • OpenAI: Historically, OpenAI has been committed to publishing most of its AI research to promote open collaboration. However, as mentioned in their charter, safety and security concerns might reduce traditional publishing in the future, while increasing the importance of sharing safety, policy, and standards research.
  • DeepMind: DeepMind is also known for publishing a significant portion of its research. They collaborate with academic institutions and have a strong presence in AI conferences.

5. Ethical and Safety Commitments:

  • OpenAI: OpenAI places a strong emphasis on the long-term safety of AGI. They are committed to conducting research to make AGI safe and promoting the broad adoption of safety research across the AI community.
  • DeepMind: DeepMind has its own safety team and emphasizes building safe and ethical AI. They've published research on AI safety topics and have voiced commitments to ensure the responsible development of AI technologies.

6. Products and Services:

  • OpenAI: OpenAI has begun offering some of its models as commercial products, such as the GPT-3-based OpenAI API. They also have platforms like OpenAI Gym, which is a toolkit for developing and comparing reinforcement learning algorithms.
  • DeepMind: While primarily a research organization, DeepMind's advancements have found applications within Alphabet Inc., notably in improving energy efficiency in Google's data centers. They've also ventured into health tech with products like Streams, although DeepMind's health division was later absorbed by Google Health.


While both OpenAI and DeepMind are at the forefront of AI research and share the goal of advancing the field responsibly, they have different origins, structures, and specific focuses. Both organizations, however, play pivotal roles in shaping the future of AI and its impact on society.