Mustafa Suleyman

Mustafa Suleyman is a British businessman, activist and, most notably, Co-founder and Head of Applied AI at Alphabet’s DeepMind Artificial Intelligence Corporation.

Suleyman had a father who was a born Syrian taxi driver and his mother was a nurse of English in the NHS. He was born just off Caledonian Road in north London where he lived with his parents and two younger children. About that time, through his best friend, Demis’ younger brother, he met his co-founder, Demis Hassabis. Suleyman said that he and Hassabis are going to discuss ways to make the world a better place: “Demis and I were talking about how to influence the world and argue that we need these great simulations to model one day all the complex dynamics of our financial systems and to solve today’s most severe social problems.”

At 19, Suleyman left Mansfield College of Oxford University to help launch a telephone counselling service Muslim Youth Helpline. The organization became one of the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Suleyman then served as a human rights policy officer for the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone before starting Reos Partners, a consultancy for ‘systemic change,’ using dispute resolution methods to address social problems. As the negotiator and facilitator, Mustafa has worked for a wide range of customers such as the UN, the Dutch government and WWF. Suleyman has co-founded and become chief producer, DeepMind Technologies, a leading AI company. DeepMind was purchased from Google in 2014 and became DeepMind’s Head of Applied AI.

Suleyman is one of three co-founders of DeepMind Technologies, an artificial intelligence / machine learning company, and has become its chief product officer. The company quickly became one of the leaders in the AI sector and was supported by, among others, Founders Fund, Elon Musk and Scott Banister.

Google acquired DeepMind in 2014 for a reported £400 million – the biggest acquisition of the company in Europe to date. After the acquisition, Suleyman became DeepMind’s Head of Applied AI, which was responsible for integrating the technology in a wide range of Google products.

Suleyman launched DeepMind Health at the Royal Society of Medicine in February 2016. DeepMind Health builds NHS clinician-led technology and improves frontline health services with other partners. One of the company’s first projects, Streams, is a safe and mobile app that helps physicians and nurses provide patients with faster urgent care with signs of deterioration and quicker information.

Under Suleyman, DeepMind has also partnered with research organisations, including Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation trust and Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre, to apply algorithms of machine learning to eye disorders, head or neck cancer and mammography.

To supervise DeepMind Health, Suleyman asked a number of renowned personalities to act as independent evaluators of their activities in the public interest. Those nine persons meet all year round to review DeepMind Health’s work and publish their findings in an annual report.

In 2017, the Information Commissioner concluded a year-long investigation focusing on the testing of the app, Streams, by the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust in late 2015 and 2016. The ICO found that Royal Free did not comply with the Data Protection Act when it provided DeepMind with patient information and found several deficiencies in how data were being processed, including not adequately notifying patients that their data would be used in the test. In July 2017, DeepMind reported on the investigation, saying “we have to do better” and highlighted several initiatives and activities they have undertaken for transparency, oversight and commitment. This included developing a strategy for patient and public participation and being transparent in partnerships.

In 2016, Suleyman attempted to use DeepMind’s machine-learning algorithms to reduce the energy that Google’s data centers need to cool. The system evaluated the billions of possible combinations of actions that data center operators could take and produced recommendations based on the expected efficiency of power usage. The system discovered new cooling methods that reduced the amount of energy used for cooling by up to 40 per cent and improved the building’s overall energy efficiency by 15 per cent.

Suleyman is a prominent figure in the discussion of AI ethics and has widely discussed the need for enterprises, governments and civil society to hold technologists accountable for the effects of their work. He advocated redesigning incentives to drive business leaders to prioritize social responsibility alongside fiduciary duties in the technology industry. Within DeepMind he set up DeepMind Ethics & Society research teams to study the real impacts of Ethics on AI and help technicians implement Ethics. Suleyman is also a founding partner of the Partnership for AI, an organization which includes Amazon, Apple, DeepMind, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft representatives. The organization studies and formulates best practices for AI technologies, advances awareness of AI by the public and provides an open platform for discussion and participation in AI and how AI affects individuals and society. Its board of directors is represented equally by non-profit organizations and profits.

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