Google has bought a London-based tech company that specialises in artificial intelligence (AI), Sky News has confirmed.
It purchased DeepMind Technologies Ltd in a deal worth a reported £240m.
One of the DeepMind's current directors previously predicted AI machines will learn "basic vision, basic sound processing, basic movement control, and basic language abilities" by 2020.
Google has been developing AI expertise and recently bought military robot maker Boston Dynamics.
DeepMind has become a major force in development of AI and currently develops algorithms for games, simulations and online commerce sites.
The deal was first revealed by tech site re/code and it said Google CEO Larry Page led negotiations.
DeepMind is heavily involved in the enigmatic AI field of machine learning, where systems are improved as data is processed over time.
The company says it combines "the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms".
It was founded by 37-year-old Demis Hassabis in late 2010. DeepMind says it is "supported by some of the most iconic technology entrepreneurs and investors of the past decade".
The founder was a child chess prodigy and video game designer by the age of 16, who later went on study computer science at Cambridge and gained a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London.
As the start-up expanded Dr Hassabis' firm took on additional directors to boost both technical and financial clout.
Those were IT entrepreneur Luke Nosek, Mustafa Suleyman, investment banker David Gammon, Skype co-developer Jaan Tallinn and machine super intelligence expert Shane Legg, in that order.
Mr Legg predicted there will be humanlike artificial general intelligence before 2030, with "impressive proto-AGI" functionality by 2020.