The biggest AI and machine learning acquisitions 2016: From Apple to Google, breaking down the AI acquisition binge

The big tech firms are battling it out over artificial intelligence, with a raft of high profile, and expensive, startup acquisitions coming in 2016

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Since Google purchased Deep Mind, a little known deep learning startup from Cambridge in 2014 for a reported £400 million, technology companies have been keen to buy into artificial intelligence (AI) expertise.

What do they hope to achieve from these AI acquisitions? Mostly talent and intellectual property, as tech companies battle it out for the best data science and AI developers and researchers. Enterprise software makers also want to bring predictive capabilities into their suites of products, to help customers work smarter and more efficiently.

Social media and internet companies are primarily interested in image and voice recognition technology to improve engagement, and the biggest tech companies are battling it out to build an intelligent personal assistant to rule them all.

Whether the 2016 buying spree was a bubble, or AI is here to stay, here are the biggest acquisitions of the year...