According to a report from Re/code, Google has acquired UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind Technologies for US$400 million. The acquisition is the latest in a series of purchases by the search giant in the robotics and artificial intelligence arenas.

According to its website, DeepMind is a "cutting edge artificial intelligence company" which combines "the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms." Based in London, it was co-founded by neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, a child chess prodigy, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

Although DeepMind hasn't released any commercial products, the company's AI research was enough to attract the attention of key players keeping a watchful eye on the technology. The Information reports that Facebook was also in discussions with DeepMind, only to be beaten to the punch by Google, with CEO Larry Page finalizing the deal.

The acquisition follows a flurry of recent purchases by Google, which saw it snap up smart home devices company Nest for $3.2 billion and Boston Dynamics, the engineering and robotics company responsible for various robots including BigDog, PETMAN, Cheetah and Atlas.

The Information also reports that Google plans on taking proactive measures in establishing an ethics board to ensure that the artificial intelligence, if developed, is not abused.

Sources: DeepMind, Re/code, The Information