Google opens Chinese AI centre

Google opens Chinese AI centre

The facility will employ a team of researchers who will be supported by engineers the company already has in China.

AI, especially machine-learning, has been an area of intense focus for American tech stalwarts Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and their Chinese competitors Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, as they bid to master what many consider the future of computing.

AI research has the power to increase developments in self-driving vehicles and automated factories, translation products, and facial recognition software, among others.

"Besides publishing its own work, the Google AI China Center will also support the AI research community by funding and sponsoring AI conferences and workshops, and working closely with the vibrant Chinese AI research community", Li added. "And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it", Dr. Fei-FeiLi, Chief Scientist at Google Cloud, said in a blog post.

Google's artificial intelligence unit DeepMind even teamed up with Chinese authorities to hold a five-day festival in the country earlier this year.

China's great population and solid mathematics and sciences education have fostered an incredible engineering talent.

China's cyber regulators say restrictions on foreign media and internet platforms are created to block influences that contravene stability and socialist ideas.

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Li, formerly the director of Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab, was a high-profile arrival when she joined Google one year ago.

For now, the centre is focusing on making use of Chinese talent.

Google has two existing offices in China, with about half of its 600 staff working on global products, the company spokesman said.

Its job board in China shows about a dozen openings in the AI field.

The search engine giant's other machine learning (ML) research groups, besides the Googleplex, are located in New York, London, Zürich and Toronto.

But China's internet borders are fortified by the so-called Great Firewall, and most of Google's biggest products - its search engine, YouTube and Gmail - have been blocked by the country's vast censorship apparatus for years.

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