Geoffrey Hinton was briefly a Google intern in 2012 because of bureaucracy

Geoffrey Hinton is one the most famous researchers in the field of artificial intelligence. His work helped kick off the world of deep learning we see today. He earned his PhD in artificial intelligence back in 1977 and, in the 40 years since, he’s played a key role in the development of back-propagation and Boltzmann Machines. So it was a bit hilarious to learn in a Reddit AMA hosted by the Google Brain Team that Hinton was briefly a Google intern in 2012.

Prompted by a question about age cut-offs for interns on Brain Team, Jeff Dean, a Google Senior Fellow and leader of the research group, explained that his team has no arbitrary rules limiting the age of interns. To drive this point home, he explained that Geoffrey Hinton was technically his intern for a period of time in 2012.

“In 2012, I hosted Geoffrey Hinton as a visiting researcher in our group for the summer, but due to a snafu in how it was set up, he was classified as my intern,” Dean joked in the exchange. “We don’t have any age cutoffs for interns. All we ask is that they be talented and eager to learn, like Geoffrey :).”

Just a year later, Google acquired Hinton’s startup, DNNresearch, to build out its capabilities in deep learning. We still don’t know the price Google paid for DNNresearch, but after only a year of interning, that seems like quite a sweet deal :)

Brain Team is one of Google’s central units for research in deep learning and the home of the popular TensorFlow deep learning framework. If you applied for an internship there and didn’t get it, don’t worry — blame Geoffrey Hinton, he set the bar too high.