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Google wrote off $1.3 billion in debt for its loss-making AI startup DeepMind, according to the firm's latest accounts

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Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis

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Google let more than a billion dollars in debt slide as its UK-based AI arm DeepMind continued to make losses, according to the London-based firm's latest filings. 

The tech giant forked out $500 million for what was then a little-known AI startup, which has gone on to develop machines capable of defeating human board game champions, and claimed to have made groundbreaking progress in structural biology

Fresh accounts filed with the UK's Companies House showing DeepMind's financials for the year to 31 December 2019 show its revenues grew by more than 150% on the previous year to £265.6 million (or around $360 million).

It also shrank its pre-tax losses slightly from £470 million ($640 million) in 2018 to £460.9 million (or $626 million).

According to the filings, parent company Google also "waived the repayment" of a further £1.1 billion (or $1.3 billion) in debt. The decision underscores Google's commitment to its investment in DeepMind, with little indication the burgeoning startup is likely to turn a profit any time soon. 

In a statement, a DeepMind spokesperson said: "During the period covered by these accounts, DeepMind laid the foundations for our groundbreaking results in protein structure prediction — a 50-year grand challenge in biology and collaborated with teams across Google to deliver real-world impact at scale." 

They added: "Our teams were involved in a huge range of projects, from improving the predictability of wind power to accelerating ecological research in the Serengeti. We're excited to build on this unprecedented progress as we head into next year."

Earlier this month, DeepMind unveiled its breakthrough in protein folding to global acclaim. However, some AI specialists expressed skepticism about the firm's claims to have "solved" the problem.

Business Insider approached DeepMind for further comment. 

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